Feb
3
2014

Portrait of Community: Lars and the Real Girl

larsFriday night I watched a movie that I never would have seen, had I not received credit for watching it. The movie was called Lars and the Real Girl, and it paints a picture of community that is utterly beautiful. The film focuses on a socially awkward young man named Lars, who has serious struggles in the relationship department. For much of the film I found myself cringing at the awkwardness that is the character of Lars, it was somewhat painful.

Everything changes for Lars when he meets his girlfriend: a mailorder, life-sized, doll from the internet.
Yes, that kind of doll.

A series of conversations ensues, resulting in the down doctor suggesting the Lars is delusional, and the best thing that can happen is for everyone to play along with it. The rest of the movie revolves around the town stepping up and playing along with it… out of a love for Lars.

There was a simple beauty to the way that the community surrounded Lars, and Bianca (his girlfriend), in order to care for him through in his delusional state. Friends were required to take part in foolish, awkward, even humiliating activities in order to care for Lars… and yet they did so, gladly. 

Since watching the film, I can’t help but ask myself whether I’d be willing to make a fool of myself in order to care for another. Perhaps a better question is what am I NOT willing to do in order to love my neighbor?

The trailer for the film is below… check it out and let me know what you think (note: the film was rated R, and while it is a little risque due to Bianca being what she is, outside of a little language it is not an explicit film).

What are YOU unwilling to do in order to love your neighbor?

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About the Author: Matt Steen

Over the last fifteen years I have been a Church Planter, Youth Pastor, Executive Pastor, and now I serve churches through coaching (churchsimple.net), providing online giving services (egiveusa.com), and through keeping them informed (ministrybriefing.tv). I love Jesus, my wife, the Redskins and Capitals and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ.

  • http://NewSmallChurch.com/ Karl Vaters

    Matt, I’m with you on this. The premise of the film sounds so, well, perverse. But someone I trust recommended it to me, so I gave it a tentative try. And I’m glad I did. The film is brilliantly written and acted. It’s also sweet, touching and, as you mention, says a lot about what it means to love someone who’s in a situation that makes loving them a challenge. The people in the town, and in his home church, go way outside their comfort zone to show love to the title character and to help him be restored to health again. Oh, for more churches, towns, friends and families like the ones in this movie.