Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Recent viewings: Lars and the Real Girl, In Bruges, and Definitely, Maybe

While on vacation visiting my 92 year old mother and family we watched a few films.

Lars and the Real Girl was the big hit. It is a love story, kind of… but mostly it is a family drama/comedy. The story is about Lars, a rather odd duck that lives a reclusive life alone in his married brothers’ garage apartment. I’m not sure what the motivation is for Lars to become involved with a mail-order rubber girl named Bianca, but he does. Unfortunately though, he learns that love is not easy when your mate has a life of her own—which Bianca has thanks to the extremely sympathetic community in which they live. The movie is so sweet; it has such a good heart and it is sooo heartwarming to see a film where a family and a community suspend reality for awhile so that they can help one of their own through a difficult time in his life. This is a film that leaves you feeling full of love, peace and joy. How many films can you say that about? This one is a rare treat.

In Bruges is as different from Lars as you can get. It is a black comedy where 2 hired guns have been sent to the beautiful city of Bruges on an unknown assignment. When they finally are given the assignment, it is that one of them must kill the other. Colin Farrell (Ray) and Brendan Gleeson (Ken) play the 2 killers, with Gleeson enjoying the opportunity to be a tourist in an enchanting city and Farrell…well, he’s just funny:
Ray: What's up there?
Ken: The view.
Ray: The view of what? The view of down here? I can see that down here.
Ken: Ray, you are about the worst tourist in the whole world.
Ray: Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me but I didn't, so it doesn't.
You might say that a story about killers killing each other is not a subject for a comedy. Well, you’re probably right, but for those of us just warped enough to be able to overlook the blood and guns and to concentrate on the dialogue, the visuals, and the keystone cops style activity, In Bruges is a hoot! It is very similar to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in its humor and outlook. A friend suggested to me that Lock Stock glorified violence. But I have to say that neither of these films left me with the message that crime pays. In fact, quite the opposite. So where’s the harm? I enjoyed these films immensely.

Definitely, Maybe. We watched this one because my mom and sister like romantic comedies and I had read that this was an intelligent one. Well, they liked it because it does have a sweet love story, and I hated it because unrealistic love stories just don’t do it for me. Maybe I get hung up on details but seeing a gorgeous woman working in a bookstore but living in a nice apartment (not an efficiency) in Manhattan with only one roommate! On what planet is this possible! Certainly not in the Manhattan I’m familiar with. I say, if you’re going to make a fantasy, make a fantasy and if you’re going for realism, then get real! For a great realistic love story I don’t know if there are any better than Moonstruck. It’s romantic, it’s real and it’s funny. On the other hand, Enchanted is an enchanting fantasy love story. So make one or the other but don’t mix them please.
All rebuttals welcome.

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