The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, receiving a standing ovation, and showed again on September 13 as well as twice on September 15, 2007 at the Boston Film Festival, where the director took questions from the sold-out audience after the first screening. It was released on October 12, 2007 in New York and Los Angeles. The movie was filmed in various locations in Ontario, Canada.
Ryan Gosling stars as Lars Lindstrom, an extremely shy young man living in a small town. He purchases a sex doll online and proceeds to introduce her to his brother and sister-in-law as his girlfriend. Despite the concerns of his friends and relatives, a local doctor notes that since Lars otherwise has a highly functional personality that threatens no one, this delusion is a sign that he is working through some personal issues and his loved ones should play along in the meantime. With some persuasion, the entire town eventually participates as well with growing enthusiasm for this unusual, but enjoyable, activity as Lars continues to pursue what he perceives as a deep and meaningful relationship with the doll.