Craig Gillespie's upcoming film, Lars and the Real Girl, has inspired intrigue and curiosity for months now because it's a hard film to peg. Initially, it looked to be a black comedy full of quirk and strangeness, as a man begins to date a Real Doll, rather than finding a living, breathing real girl. The trailer didn't help matters, seeming much more comedic than dramatic, but as I said in my review from TIFF: "While the title insinuates that it's a wacky comedy, it's actually a smart, well-crafted, and heart-wrenching film that smoothly discusses the intricacies of loss and depression."

Now the film is further subverting expectations with it's marketing plan. Reuters reports that church leaders will be involved in the film's promo screenings, which will come out before the film goes into wide release on October 26 (it hits LA and NYC theaters this week). SKE distribution head Bingham Ray says: "We've found an enormous response from mainstream Christian groups. Some pastors may discuss the film as part of their sermons." Usually, films that target church groups have a distinct religious message that includes themes, or icons, like Evan Almighty or The Passion of the Christ.

That being said, it's not surprising that churches are showing interest -- Lars might be in love with a Real Doll, but he is also a kind, thoughtful religious man who is active in both his community and his church. In fact, religion and the church are represented in the film with warmth, without biting social commentary. Still, whoever would have thought that church groups would show interest in and embrace a film that includes a Real Doll?!