Lars and the Real Girl is a sweet and surprisingly moving film about socially inept man named Lars (Ryan Gosling) who falls in love with a life-size sex doll. Harvey as filtered through a deadpan Hal Ashbian lens, Lars is medium funny but surprisingly moving.

The arrival of ‘Bianca’ sets tongues wagging in a nonspecific northern town. Lars’ brother (Paul Schneider) and his pregnant wife (Emily Mortimer) are advised by the local doctor (Patricia Clarkson) that the best thing for Lars is to go along with the delusion. Reluctantly at first, then with vigor, they set the tone for the whole town who, like Lars, pin their own subconscious dreams and hopes on the silicone doll.

This little fable about a fake woman has a lot to say about real love. I was resistant to it at first — Gosling, with his squinting and blinking is far too mannered, the score is distractingly blunt at times — but Lars and the Real Girl won me over. Screenwriter Nancy Oliver, a former staff writer for Six Feet Under, deserves credit for telling an askew tale with great heart; director Craig Gillespie for using such restraint; cinematographer Adam Kimmel for bottling the genie that is winter light.

I give Lars and the Real Girl a big recommend.

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