Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.
In this comedy, Lars Lindstrom is an awkwardly shy young man in a small northern town who finally brings home the girl of his dreams to his brother and sister-in-law's home. The only problem is that she's not real - she's a sex doll Lars ordered off the Internet. But sex is not what Lars has in mind, but rather a deep, meaningful relationship. His sister-in-law is worried for him, his brother thinks he's nuts, but eventually the entire town goes along with his delusion in support of this sweet natured boy that they've always loved. Written by
Ryan Gosling brought in a "Talking Heads" cassette to play in the party scene, because he thought it would be cool for the scene. See more »
At the party, when the host puts on a vinyl record, she drops the needle on the first track on the side. But the song that comes out of the speakers is "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody), which is the last song on the Talking Heads album, "Speaking in Tongues." As the last track, it would appear closest to the center of the album, rather than at the outside edge where the needle is placed. In fact, it has never appeared as the lead-off track on any vinyl album. See more »
"Lars and the Real Girl" may come off as an unrealistic, over-the-top, completely unfathomable fairytale for the mentally ill while the line between realism and fantasy is tightly walked. Some of the actions of the characters are questionable- mostly with the way the townspeople treat Lars and his delusions. Lars is incredibly shy. He sits alone in the dark. He'll make up any excuse he can muster to avoid even a simple breakfast at his brother's house (He lives in the garage; separated from the house of course, and completely isolated / detached from human contact). Lars struggles to connect with people, which is due to years of neglect from his father, and the death of his mother during child birth. His brother left the first chance he got, so Lars has never felt love, nor has he been given the chance to share his love for others.
One day Lars' co-worker is surfing internet porn and comes across a real sex doll. He shows this to Lars, who doesn't give it too much attention, but we see the wheels turning. Later we see a box dropped off at his garage, and then it all starts. This will be Lars' way of giving all this love that he has to give to someone that won't do anything but accept it. Someone who isn't concerned with the superficial, and someone who he can connect with. She's someone who won't crowd him or make him feel uncomfortable. She will support him.
The film slowly and gradually morphs into a story of love and acceptance. There's more to the story than just a simple sex doll toted around town by a lonely guy looking for attention. The film has a heart, and that heartbeat is pulsated through the screen by the incredible performance from one of the most talented young actors in the business, Ryan Gosling. I honestly don't know if another actor could have pulled this off. He hardly ever has eye contact with any single person in the film. He's given a flower and told to give it to someone nice, but when Margo comes strolling along, he flings the flower into the bushes. Then he runs away. Margo likes him and he likes her, but neither are any good at expressing their feelings. Lars is searching for that special someone and like a lot of us, we can relate when we meet the one that has it all. You just can't seem to find the words, or you can find them and just can't say them.
The film raises the question about treatment of the mentally ill. Do we really need medication that wipes out their feelings and emotions, or do we just need the basics? Love, care, support, and acceptance for who you are. They accept Bianca because of Lars and Lars finds love and acceptance. He learns human interaction.
This is a rare film where we see a group of people do good - even though their method may be questioned - in order to help someone struggling with an illness. This isn't a film that's laugh out loud funny, a few occasional ones here and there, but I found myself smiling throughout. The final act had me choked up. It created a much stronger reaction than I had anticipated. Gosling had me laughing and nearly brought to tears all at the same time. Paul Schneider was also exceptional. The film does a great job of questioning normality and the treatment of the mentally ill. This is more like a fable and some might question the reality of it (and knock it for being unrealistic), but if they do, then they're missing the entire point. "Lars and the Real Girl" is a near modern masterpiece that has a message. The ending is predictable, but without the ending the film isn't complete and the message is vastly different.
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