Under the Sun Movie Review

Nominated last year for Best Foreign Language Film, Under the Sun is a gentle look at romance through the eyes of a middle-aged innocent. It's a pleasantly simple story, shot with overwhelming beauty, but it falls short in terms of sweeping an audience off its feet.

The setting is the lush fields of Sweden in the late 1950's. Olof (Rolf Lassgård) is a lonely farmer who can barely hang on to the house his mother left to him when she died nine years before. His young, boisterous friend Erik (Johan Widerberg) helps him with errands and some work when he isn't digging graves.

Olof is simple and quiet, and ashamed that he can't read or write. He is also still a virgin. He goes to the local paper to place an ad for a housekeeper, hoping she will also become a female companion. Word gets out around the small town and their priest puts Erik on guard.

Ellen (Helena Bergström) arrives with little warning. Olof is instantly attracted to her and fumbles with conversation as Erik gets aggressively flirtatious, apparently in the protection of Olof. As time goes on, Ellen has set the house in repair and managed the finances without knowing that Olof can't read. She and Olof become romantically involved as she continues to duck Erik's advances. Erik won't rest until he finds a chink in her armor.

This character driven story is respectably able to keep the key players' motivations in question. You never know if Ellen is being coy with Erik or if she is really devoted to Olof, because her past is always in question. Erik seems to care a great deal about Olof but then makes successive comments trying to degrade him in Ellen's eyes. Olof himself appears a simpleton led by around by others but is allowed to show more intelligence as time progresses. This mixture keeps the mind reeling with anticipation as to what will happen next.

However, there are also flaws to the ambiguity. When Olof is finally able to show that he knows more about human nature than he lets on, it is only after he has had intercourse. The film seems to relate sexual intercourse with all newfound knowledge of the world surrounding Olof, which is hard to swallow.

Also, lacking knowledge of the characters' motivations from one scene to the next may keep you on mental toes, but it keeps you begging for the filmmaker to get on with allowing something to happen, already. There are at least eight scenes in which Erik tries to gain Ellen's physical affections and only one in which she stops him to challenge his honesty to Olof. The scenes themselves are intriguing enough to watch, but there are too many of them to keep one's attention from waning.

There is a fairy tale quality to the film that keeps the situation endearing enough to watch. Olof is a large man, and not particularly attractive, while Ellen is slim and perfectly coiffed. A link to Beauty and the Beast can easily by made. Between that, Erik's talk of what little Olof has to offer, and the stunning landscapes in which everything is shot, the viewer is transported into the environment where the characters live instead of merely being a spectator.

Unfortunately this film falls into a difficult category to appreciate. It isn't necessarily a good film for couples, and yet a modern single won't find much to like either. A bit too much like life for our tastes.

Aka Under solen.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :

Starring : Rolf Lassgård, Helena Bergström, , Gunilla Röör, ,


Under the Sun Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG, 1998


Editors Recommendations

Kiefer Sutherland Issues Professional Response To Freddie Prinze Jr.'s "Unprofessional" Criticism

The 47 year-old actor only had fond memories of working with Prinze Jr...

Kiefer Sutherland Issues Professional Response To Freddie Prinze Jr.'s

Jessie J's New Single "Bang Bang" Is A Summer Playlist Staple

Ariana Grande is checking off rap babes to collaborate with one by one...

Jessie J's New Single

Reason #23435 To Like Chris Pratt - "Guardians Of The Galaxy" Star Connects With Fans At Charity Screening

Chris Pratt may just be the best human – in Hollywood, anyway. The Guardians...

Reason #23435 To Like Chris Pratt -

Zayn Malik told to kill himself after controversial tweet

One Direction’s Zayn Malik has attracted enormous criticism on Twitter after simply...

Zayn Malik told to kill himself after controversial tweet

La Toya Jackson - Feels Like Love

La Toya Jackson is re-booting her showbiz career with a brand new music video for latest single...

La Toya Jackson - Feels Like Love Video

Quentin Tarantino Confirms That 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Made For Big-Screen

Quentin Tarantino seems to have had a change of heart against the individuals...

 Quentin Tarantino Confirms That 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Made For Big-Screen

Allegations of sexual harassment at Comic-Con

A group of young women from Philadelphia that founded a website titled...

Allegations of sexual harassment at Comic-Con

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis Are Set To Tie The Knot Next Year

Excited fans first heard the news that former 'That 70's Show' co-stars...

Ashton Kutcher And Mila Kunis Are Set To Tie The Knot Next Year

More recommendations