Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Introvert and the Real Girl

Mary and I went to see Lars and the Real Girl last weekend, and I have to say, I highly recommend this movie, especially if you’re an introvert.

The movie starts out with poor Lars, a single man in his mid-twenties who’s living in his brother’s garage. His main form of social contact is peeking out the window and watching while friends and family knock futilely on his door. Mary and I spent so much of the film leaning over to each other and saying “He’s such an introvert!” that we nearly conked heads a dozen times. (Or maybe that was because we were both reaching for the popcorn. I forget.)

At one point, he’s put off his sister-in-law’s dinner invitation so many times that she literally tackles him in the driveway in an attempt to drag him to the dinner table.

But even when she wins and he’s there at the table, he’s so overcome by the social demands of the situation, he can barely eat.

And then, he gets a life-size doll as a girl friend, and while it’s hilarious, it is also incredibly touching and a huge testament to the human spirit’s ability to try and heal itself and break through our own limitations.

As I writer I was so struck by the brilliant subtext of the movie. Really, the entire thing is subtext when you think about it. It was a genius way to write about the struggles and travails of an extreme introvert. Normally those sorts of conflict tend to be so internal, the story ends up just being a man talking to himself. So if you’ve ever received feedback from someone suggesting you to find a way to make your internal plot more external, I point to this movie as a prime example of that.

But really, the movie is worth it if for no other reason than how thoroughly the writer (Nancy Oliver of Six Feet Under fame) gets introverts.

And I must confess to also loving the delicious irony of it: that the most human movie I’ve seen in a long time--one that showed us the endearing quirks, foibles, and vulnerabilities of mankind, as well as how love and tolerance can be found in the most unexpected places--starred a life-size plastic doll.

Now what does that say about the human condition?

If you get a chance to see it, let us know what you think!

1 comment:

Mary Hershey said...

I'm so glad Robin posted about this film. Loved it BIG-- hope you do, too. If you go see it, let us know what you think!