November 22, 2007


Reviews: Wristcutters, Lars and the Real Girl

I've recently been fortunate to see two excellent movies... Wristcutters: A Love Story, and Lars and the Real Girl.

Wristcutters: A Love Story (2007) - (IMDb) (Trailer)

Wristcutters is a film about a young man named Zia (played by Patrick Fuggit of Almost Famous) who as the film begins cuts his writs and then finds himself in an afterlife, where interestingly everything is exactly like it was before, except slightly less pleasant; and what could be a more appropriate punishment for someone who's fed up with life and commits suicide than to end up in a place that's exactly the same but worse. A place where, for instance, smiling is outlawed.

Soon into the film Zia and his new friend Eugene, a former Russian musician who offed himself on stage during a rock concert, begin a trek to find Zia's ex-girlfriend who offed herself shortly after Zia did. Along the way they meet a young woman along the road who is searching for the P.I.C. (People in Charge) who are alleged to be distinguishable by their white suites, because she believes she has ended up in that afterlife by mistake. Further down the road they meet up with a elderly man, played by Tom Waites, who gives an amazing performance as their mentor/lunatic guide.

Anyone who's ever experienced a mild to major depression in their lives may appreciate the afterlife described in Wristcutters. Its a place that will connect with anyone who's ever been in a listless place in their lives, not sure what to do or where to go, with no particular aim or goal in sight.

I don't want to give too much away but my particular favorite scene involves a group of people watching a slide show and hearing a story about a conversation between trees. It's a priceless moment. If you can appreciate absurd moments of surrealist humor then this film will give you plenty of moments to laugh. 4.5/5

Lars and the Real Girl (2007) - (IMDb) (Trailer)

Lars is one of the best films I've seen in a really long time. It stars Ryan Goslin who (coincidently?) was in one of the best films I watched from last year, Half Nelson (and if you haven't seen that, you should).

I went to see this movie without knowing a whole lot about it...Just that it had a good review on NPR, and from what bits and pieces I'd heard I was expecting it to be just a funny film about a guy with an obsession with sex dolls who is challenged to start a relationship with a real woman. But the film is not really about that at all; and it has so much more more depth...

Lars, lives an extremely quite and reclusive life; all the while, a pretty young woman living in the same small northern town, working at the same place, and attending the same small church, does everything she can to reveal that she has a huge crush on him. Despite this, Lars does all that he can to politely avoid any form of physical contact with anyone. That is, until his coworker unwittingly convinces him to purchase an “atomically correct” life-size female doll (usually purchased for sexual reasons) but in Lars' case purely as a supplement to real companionship—ultimately transforming into a delusion for Lars that she is a real woman needing his care.

But what makes the film great is how shows Lars' Brother and sister-in-law, his fellow churchgoers, as well as the whole town, and all of his co-workers all comming together to support Lars with his problem. Lars is a touching film about the compassion of the people in Lars' life. Here is the trailer (but DON'T WATCH IT; it gives away too much of the story. Instead, take my word for it, and just go and see this film). 5/5