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Zen Movies: A Recommendation, #2

These are not recommendations of movies about Buddhism, but rather ones about the human condition, the lives of ordinary people, though every life, when viewed deeply, is extraordinary. As Deshan (ninth century Chan master and curmudgeon extraordinaire  is quoted as saying: “What is known as ‘realizing the mystery’ is nothing but breaking through to grab an ordinary person’s life”.

This weeks film recommendation is “Lars and the Real Girl” from 2007 starring Ryan Gosling, with Emily Mortimer and Paul Schneider. The Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan described it as “the sweetest, most innocent, most completely enjoyable film around,” “a film whose daring and delicate blend of apparent irreconcilables will sweep you off your feet if you’re not careful. The creators of this film were fiercely determined not to go so much as a millimeter over the line into sentiment, tawdriness or mockery. It’s the rare film that is the best possible version of itself, but Lars fits that bill.”

Here is the set up from Wikipedia: Lars Lindstrom lives in the converted garage behind the house he and his brother Gus inherited from their late father. His pregnant sister-in-law, Karin’s persistent attempts to lure him into the house for a family meal are usually rebuffed, and on the rare occasions he accepts, their conversation is stilted and he seems eager to leave as soon as he can. The young man finds it difficult to interact with or relate to his family, co-workers, or fellow parishioners in the church he regularly attends. Margo, Lars’s co-worker, is clearly interested in him, but Lars runs silently from her at every chance he gets. One day Lars happily announces to Gus and Karin he has a visitor he met via the Internet, a wheelchair-bound missionary of Brazilian and Danish descent named Bianca…