Friday, January 16, 2009

Bianca is a big, big girl!

Lars: You don't care.

Karin: We don't care? We do care!

Lars: No you don't.

Karin: That is just not true! God! Every person in this town bends over backward to make Bianca feel at home. Why do you think she has so many places to go and so much to do? Huh? Huh? Because of you! Because - all these people - love you! We push her wheelchair. We drive her to work. We drive her home. We wash her. We dress her. We get her up, and put her to bed. We carry her. And she is not petite, Lars. Bianca is a big, big girl!

I just watched "Lars and the Real Girl" and I loved it. The movie follows a 27 year old man named Lars, who orders a life-sized doll named Bianca in the mail and convinces himself that she's alive. To be exact, she is his half Danish, half Brazilian girlfriend. I read a New York Times review stating that the movie came off as calculated. Their writer also argues that the storyline takes mental illness lightly. I work with kids who will most likely grow into adults like Lars, and not only do I think this movie is realistic (although I might argue that the ending is a little too clean and simple), I can only hope my kids use a doll at some point to get past childhood trauma rather than killing someone and spending their lives in prison. Bianca turns out to be a positive force in Lars' life rather than something that ultimately pushes him into insanity (this is the outcome anticipated by his family). Bianca provides Lars someone (a vessel if you will) to place his trust in and a starting place to begin his journey in finding his way back to the human race. Although Lars' psycho-emotional issues are packaged fairly neatly in this story, I don't feel this movie takes any of his own struggles with mental illness lightly.

I work with a child who vacillates between believing that he is Anakin Skywalker and that he lives and works on a spaceship. I also work with a kid who is 12 and violated his probation today by running around the surrounding wilderness of our school, throwing glass bottles full of pee at us while screaming racially charged profanity at our neighbors. The sheriff came and arrested him. I'd rather he have a light saber or a doll named Bianca. Anakin and Lars are going to be okay. I think this thought is what really made me cry during this movie. Although, Lars dancing with eyes squeezed shut and fists clenched tight while swaying side to side (to the Talking Heads) was enough by itself to do me in.

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