I'd like to do something new today, something I've never done before around here. You may have noticed the sidebar, where I keep track of what I'm currently reading, watching, and listening to. And this is all well and good, of course, but occasionally I come across something, a book or a movie or an album, that really touches me in some way. And sometimes I have a lot to say about this particular thing that touched me, but until now I've had to channel that energy into papers on the medieval chansons de geste, or lessons on the partitive, or correcting sixteen essays titled "Mon restaurant préféré." But now that the paper-writing is over (forever!!!!) I find myself languishing, in a way, now that I don't have to write fives pages double-spaced a day in order to make a deadline. And so, I've given myself an assignment, if you will, to fill this new void in my life, and I'm going to call it Rachel's Raves (and no, there will be no glow sticks involved). The terms of this assignment being as follows: whenever I come across a movie, book, or album that floats my boat, tickles my fancy, or what have you, I promise to tell you about it. I will carefully and thoughtfully lay out my arguments, and in return, you will tell me what you think of it, either based on your own personal experience or on my review. You can even grade me if you want, just to keep that academic flavor that I am sure to miss. (Just be nice, and remember, grad students don't like B's). I hope you'll even share some raves of your own (and some rants too, if you insist on being contrary). I think a good time will be had by all. And so, without further ado, I present to you my first rave:
Lars and the Real Girl
Ok, so superficially this film is about a mentally ill man who falls in love with a sex doll he buys over the internet. I hestitate to mention that first thing, knowing it might drive people away, as it presents a sort of slapstick, Weekend at Bernie's-type image, which is not at all the case. This movie is not about that. This is a quietly soulful movie with heart. You may not laugh out loud, and you may not cry actual drippy tears (though I did), but it will keep you smiling throughout, even as your eyes well up and threaten to spill over. A touching movie about loneliness, community, and family, it's guaranteed to make you want to pick up and move to a remote Canadian village, volunteer in a hospital, and go to church every Sunday.
I loved Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson, and his complete 180 degree departure from that role in this film just attests to his brilliance as an actor. He plays Lars with sensitivity and humor and real affection. (Watch the special features on the dvd to hear how he prepared for his role). Emily Mortimer also gives a brilliant performance; it's obvious how much all the actors in this film truly love their characters, which only makes sense- the characters are so damn loveable. (Possibly too loveable, as I was left thinking, now where can I find a painfully shy, mustachioed, beige sweater-wearing, possibly delusional man of my own?)
So, have you seen this movie? If not, would you see it now, after reading this? Have any movies of your own to rave about? Do share. I have a Netflix account and eighteen days (and counting) of nothing better to do.