This one caught me unawares!
MovieAddict - wrote on 02/12/12
Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) is a nice young man everyone in his town likes, but Lars is dealing with a lot of problems. His mother died giving birth to him, leaving Lars with his depressed dad. As such he is shy, withdrawn and can't stand being touched. He works in an office cubbyhole and comes home to the garage in his cheap car and never socializes. He spends his evenings sitting in a chair in the small remodeled garage he lives in, just staring out the window at the snow.
His brother, Gus (Paul Schneider) and his pregnant sister-in-law, Karin (Emily Mortimer), who live in the family house next to the garage, are troubled by Lars' behavior and try to bring him into their lives but the idea of birth, given his mother's demise, terrify Lars. He is so uncomfortable around others that they have to literally tackle him and bring him to the ground just to get him to come to supper.
Knowing he needs a girlfriend, but is incapable of dealing with Margo (Kelli Garner), the young woman at the office who's interested, Lars takes a hint from his office mate and orders a lifelike and anatomically correct silicone companion typically employed for you-know-what on the Internet. But he doesn't use Bianca as the fantasy sex partner she was probably designed for. Instead he believes she's his real girlfriend. It's not long before Lars tells Gus and Karin that he'll be by for dinner...with Bianca, a young woman who is confined to a wheelchair because she can't walk and doesn't speak English.
Despite the premise, this is one of the sweetest, most charming and almost innocent movies I've seen in a while. The best thing about this movie was Ryan Gosling's performance. He puts in a beautifully modulated performance and is utterly convincing while Patricia Clarkson is great as the doctor with a psychologist degree, playing with Lars' head by having him bring Bianca in for tests in order to evaluate him while she "rests." Ryan's brother and sister in law are immensely supportive in their roles and as the story unfolds, we are treated to one of the most touching stories of a man who, with the help of the entire community, gradually loosens the chains of his own personal insecurities to become an adult.