Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
Assalam alaikum wr wb,
With a batch of blueberry cornbread muffins in the oven, I’m feeling particularly productive.
I have a good mind to make this screenwriting-cum-baking blog. I don’t see why not. I do both with much affection and reverence.
A friend of mine (whom I’ve known since primary school!) is leading the way on that. She’s a mom/baker/interior designer – who lives on the other side of the world!
Don’t you just love the Internet? Call me wide-eyed but I wake up every morning and am so grateful to the bounty of information and connections at the tips of my fingers.
Which leads me, quite clunkily, to talking about one of my favorite movies, Lars and the Real Girl.
It’s one of those movies that make me feel hopeful, no matter how many rotten tomatoes life has thrown at me. It’s one of those movies that make me feel brave.
Here’s why I think that is.
1. It could so easily have been distasteful.
There’s a plethora of R-rated comedy out there. I’ve found that some of them are high on the gags but low on heart. Some manage to be both – Mr. Apatow and Co. manage this wonderfully.
A guy falls in love with a sex doll.
It doesn’t take much to imagine what the Farrelly Brothers or even Mr. Apatow would have done with a concept like this one.
Lars and the Real Girl is not R-rated but is really funny. And it’s funny, not in spite of, but because it has so much love. The film works because the town forms a security blanket for this weird wounded man and his weird but necessary relationship. We never know if Lars and Bianca are having sex and we don’t need to know because it is irrelevant.
2. Adulthood and childhood are comfortable next to each other.
Lars isn’t the only one emotionally invested in a doll.
One co-worker collects action figures.
The other, Margot, is very fond of her teddy bear.
In this story world, it’s perfectly acceptable for these fully grown adults to bring toys to work.
Unlike in the real world, where creativity and imagination are educated out of us, and we have to relearn it in our adulthood to survive, these people grow up, seem for the most part to take responsibility for their actions, but don’t lose their imagination.
Most importantly, the community and the workplace don’t consider them weird for holding on to their childhood.
3. Utterly ordinary people do extra-ordinary things.
With some misgivings, Lars’ family decides to pretend Bianca is real.
The family convinces the town to set aside their judgments and accept Bianca as a ‘real girl’.
The cynical part of me doubts whether such acceptance would happen anywhere else except in the movies.
And the most wonderful thing is none of these people are super-heroes. It isn’t Superman and Lois Lane condescending to protect a weakling. They seem to be regular people in a regular North American town. Not coiffed and coiffured and air-brushed within an inch of their life. Just regular people doing the right thing. Doing the extra-ordinary thing.
It sort of makes me hopeful that every day, somewhere, regular people are doing incredible things.
4. Yet the story logic makes this utterly plausible.
Lars’ colleagues bring their toys to work. Mrs. Gruner says that her ‘grandson’s gay. I know all about the gays’ – quite surprising as she walks out of church.
It’s clear that while the town is close-knit and the church is the center of their community, this town is very accepting.
So when people treat Bianca like a real person, it doesn’t seem too hard to believe.
In the week since that horrific shooting here in Colorado, I’ve been thinking about good people and where and when people make the decision to accept or to reject. People in Colorado are really, really nice. I’d like to think most people in America are.
I think our kids really do deserve better.
Peace out, loved ones.