Movie Quote Monday – Lars and the Real Girl
Today’s movie quote is sponsored by Clay Morgan. And by sponsored, I mean he knows nothing about this post. That’s Clay’s new book, Undead, on the side bar – give the cover a click to see what it’s all about! (It’s zombie non-fiction, so chew on that a minute. Chew on that, haha. I did zombie humor, ya’ll!)
Lars and the Real Girl is about a young man who buys a life-sized doll to be his girlfriend. Before you click away!, this isn’t a creepy movie, I promise. It’s actually – oh my gosh, this movie – it’s sweet and funny and sad and touching and it’s just so many things. It’s quirky and unusual, which I love, love, love. And I cry every single time, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. I won’t tell you when I cry, because it would be too much of a spoiler, and also it kind of makes me feel super foolish. But I guess that’s the thing, is this movie makes me cry (every single time), even though what I’m crying about is kind of ridiculous. The emotions they’ve built up behind this crazy scenario are just so deep that I can’t help myself.
(Fine, I sob. But let’s just keep that between us, okay?)
Family, community and relationships are at the heart of this movie, as well as loss and fear. Lars doesn’t know how to have relationships with people. I think he fears the thing he wants the most, which is so relatable. I have struggled with that, certainly not in the same magnitude, in such a life-defining way, but I know what that feels like. And so Lars buys this doll as a kind of emotional bridge: his interactions with this fake human are the first steps in enabling him to interact with real people.
In Undead, there’s a section about how we offer food to people when they need to be comforted. Clay talks about something I never paid attention to before, how Jesus would bring someone back to life and then tell the family to feed that person. “Jesus just brought you back from the dead… Let’s eat!”
That passage immediately brought to mind a scene from Lars that left a big impression on me. It’s one of those quiet and simple and wonderful scenes that speak so much, at least to me. I’ve written before about not knowing how to handle grief situations, especially not knowing what to say. It’s so difficult to know how to console someone , and that’s what this scene is about.
Ladies from the community have come over to sit with Lars while he’s hurting. And that’s it. They quietly do their needlepoint and knitting, just being there with him. And they feed him.
Lars: I feel terrible that all this is happening so close to the baby coming.
—Mrs. Petersen: That’s how life is, Lars. Everything at once.
Mrs. Schindler: We brought casseroles.
—Lars: Thank you. Um, is there something I should be doing right now?
Mrs. Bruner: No, dear. You eat.
—Mrs. Schindler: We came over to sit.
Mrs. Petersen: That’s what people do when tragedy strikes.
—Mrs. Schindler: They come over and sit.
These women give Lars physical and emotional nourishment, food and companionship. They don’t offer up platitudes or condolences. They don’t give advice or talk about their own experiences of loss or heartache.
They come over and sit.
I feel like that’s a good lesson for me, in situations where another is suffering, to open my heart instead of my mouth.
What do you think?
Items of Interest:
Why can’t I say the right things? (in which I don’t just come over and sit)