The Ash and I watched "Lars and the Real Girl" the other night. If you've seen a preview for it, then you pretty much know the premise. No big surprises or anything. I've kind of been thinking about it off and on ever since the closing credits rolled. It's not so much the quality of the film, although I'd say it's a perfectly fine piece of work. Where I think it really succeeds is the fact that they took this totally ridiculous and yet not so ridiculous premise and really committed to it all the way to the end. Which, of course, wasn't much of a surprise either. But a story isn't just about its ending, it's about how it gets there.
Which reminds me of this friend I had back in college who had this whole thing about watching movies competitively. It was always him vs. the film. Anytime we talked about a specific movie, he loved to brag about how soon he had its ending figured out. As if, by guessing the ending prior to the movie's midpoint, he'd somehow beaten it. Great guy, but he could be an annoying prick that way.
But back to Lars. Here's what really struck me about it: out of all the movies I've watched recently, I'd have to say that this one requires the most suspension of disbelief. See, you've got this guy, this one single solitary guy, who develops some, shall we say, mental issues. But rather than being ostracized by the community, rather than meeting with a reaction of fear-turned-anger-turned-hate, rather than freaking everybody the hell out, the entire community rallies around to protect, support, and care for him in what is obviously a time of need. Not just his family, not just a few nice folks from the church, but everybody. Maybe my vision of humankind is too bleak, but I just don't see that happening.
Which is not to say that I don't think it should happen. I love the idea of a community that exists to support the people out of which it is made, even, or perhaps especially the ones on the fringes. I love the thought of people not getting all bent out of shape when confronted with the fact that someone in their midst has some serious shit going on. Just a simple "these things happen" kind of attitude. Fact is, a lot of people, myself very much included, are usually too wrapped up in their own day-to-day bullshit to be able to pull up and take notice, much less be of use. I tend to think that people like Lars may not always be so lucky in the real world.
And I guess that's what was weird about this movie. Imperfect people in an imperfect world somehow managed to act, well, sort of perfectly. Or at least close to ideal. Idealism sometimes gets a bad rap, as if it is a synonym for naivete, but I don't buy that. I'd love to live in a world that kind.