Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after last year's beautiful adaptation of Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. Set in 1970s Denmark, this intimate drama explores a complex web of relationships ignited by a social experiment. It's a beautifully made film with an ace cast of actors. And the layers of resonance keep it involving even when it drifts into melodrama from time to time.
After inheriting the home where he grew up, architecture professor Erik (Festen's Ulrich Thomsen) and his news anchor wife Anna (A Royal Affair's Trine Dyrholm) decide to move in. But the house is too big for just them and their 14-year-old daughter Freja (Martha Sofie Wallstrom Hansen). So they invite their old pal Ole (Lars Ranthe) to join them, then vote to admit several others, including a couple (Anne Gry Henningsen and Magnus Millang) with a frail 6-year-old son and a guy (Fares Fares, of The Keeper of Lost Causes) who wears his emotions on his sleeve. With the house full, their lives become enjoyably full. Then this warm extended family has to face a serious challenge when Erik falls in love with his student Emma (Helene Reingaard Neumann) and decides to move her into the house as well.
While the entire cast is excellent, the main focus is on central quartet of Thomsen, Dyrholm, Hansen and Neumann, each of whom delivers a surprisingly textured performance as an engaging person whose personal decisions create all kinds of issues for the people around them. Obviously, Dyrholm's role elicits the most sympathy as a woman trying to be open-minded about her husband's affair, but unable to avoid the feeling that her life is crumbling around her. Her scenes with Hansen and Neumann carry an extra emotional kick that's very moving. Meanwhile, Thomsen is sympathetic but not very likeable, understandably.
Continue reading: The Commune [Kollektivet] Review
Veronika Gronnegaard was an eccentric artist whose wealth brought her a sprawling manor in which her four children grew up. Many years later, all family members are estranged from each other and lead very different lives, but they are forced to re-unite when it emerges that Veronica has died. There is much tension during funeral proceedings, with each of her offspring eager to know who has inherited the house, rather than mourning their dear old mother. However, the resulting last will and testament presents a request that none of them could've imagined: that she would leave her magnificent home to her biological daughter Signe, whom she had adopted as a child and who still lives locally with her partner. The Gronnegaard children will do anything to make sure the mansion is returned to one of them, but what can be done with such an unambiguous request?
Continue: The Legacy - Series 1 Trailer
It's rare to find a romance that's actually based on such vivid characters as these, but then this is from Oscar-winning filmmaker Susanne Bier (In a Better World), who knows how to root films in people rather than plot structure. And even more important: this is a romance about middle-aged people we can genuinely engage with, as they have been beaten down by life and are in need of a fresh start.
It starts in Copenhagen, where hairdresser Ida (Dyrholm) has just finished cancer treatment when she discovers that her husband Leif (Bodnia) is sleeping with a young airhead (Schaumburg-Miller). Now she has to pack her son (Hansen) off to war before heading to Italy for the marriage of daughter Astrid (Egelind) to her boyfriend Patrick (Jessen). Then at the airport, Ida has an unlucky run-in with Patrick's tetchy father Philip (Brosnan), who has focussed only on his work since his wife died. And even as Ida catches his eye, he has to fend off the advances of his lovelorn sister-in-law Benedikte (Steen).
With a group of people gathering for a wedding on an idyllic Mediterranean island, the plot may seem like Mamma Mia without the music. But there are surprising details in the characters as the farce develops, and only a couple of the plot-lines get silly. The central love story is actually remarkably sweet, using Ida's and Philip's troubled histories to make their interaction both snappier and more deeply emotional than we expect. And Bier, working with her usual screenwriter Jensen, are free to let other narrative strands come and go around them.
Continue reading: Love Is All You Need Review
A Week In Movies 22 February 2013
It's Oscar weekend, so the stars are converging on Los Angeles for the big night on Sunday. Returning from the premiere of her new film Lovelace at the Berlin Film Festival, Amanda Seyfried was caught by the paparazzi as she landed at the airport to support Les Miserables, which has seven nominations including Best Picture. She signed autographs as she was ushered through the arrivals hall by her aggressive security team.
The press also caught up with Jennifer Lawrence as she made her way through the Los Angeles airport. She's the favourite to win Best Actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook and was also rushed through the arrivals hall while photographers snapped pictures. She managed to sign a few autographs along the way, and one of her minders can be seen putting her luggage in the back of her car, including a teddy bear.
When Ida, a Danish hairdresser who is recuperating after a series of chemotherapy treatments walks in on her husband cheating on her with a very young colleague from the accounts department at work, she finds her life in tatters. She resolves to travel alone to Italy where her daughter Astrid is set to wed her fiancé Patrick but on the way she meets the angry and aloof Philip who is also living in Denmark and who has become more and more annoyed at the world since his wife passed away. He turns out to be the father of the groom and they are forced to spend time together despite meeting on bad terms. Philip is humbled when he returns to the Italian villa in which he used to live with his wife but other conflicts are cropping up elsewhere even between the bride and groom. However, it isn't long before Philip and Ida start enjoying each other's company and they start to contemplate moving on with their lives.
Continue: Love Is All You Need Trailer
In 1766, aristocratic English girl Caroline (Vikander) is married off to the Danish King (Folsgaard) to preserve the dynasty. But his brutish rule turns her against him, and she seeks intellectual stimulation from the King's close advisor Johann (Mikkelsen). Eventually, this meeting of minds turns into a lusty affair, as the Queen and Johann plot to turn Denmark into a progressive, compassionate nation. Meanwhile, the King's stepmother (Dyrholm) is conniving to have him declared unfit so her son (Nielsen) can claim the throne.
Continue reading: A Royal Affair Review
After his mother dies, 12-year-old Christian (Nielsen) and his father Claus (Thomsen) move from London back to Denmark. Christian is angry at the world, and lashes out at the bully (Holm) in his new school. He befriends the bullied Elias (Rygaard), whose parents Marianne and Anton (Dyrholm and Persbrandt) are splitting up, partly because Anton spends large periods of time working as a doctor in rural Africa. Then after a local bigot (Bodnia) slaps Anton, Christian hatches a plan to get revenge in a very violent way.
Continue reading: In A Better World Review
A grand experiment that is a smashing success, The Celebration adheres to the principles of "Dogme 95," a collective of filmmakers who swear to adhere to certain rules in filmmaking: no studio shooting, location sound only, no music, hand-held camera only, natural light only, etc. The full manifesto has ten rules, none of which are commonly adhered to in Hollywood. It's a real surprise to see how magnificent these rules can be when put into the context of a good script and good acting.
Continue reading: The Celebration Review
Date of birth
15th April, 1972
Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...
Veronika Gronnegaard was an eccentric artist whose wealth brought her a sprawling manor in which...
It's rare to find a romance that's actually based on such vivid characters as these,...
When Ida, a Danish hairdresser who is recuperating after a series of chemotherapy treatments walks...
With striking photography, sumptuous production values and strong acting, this Danish epic tells a remarkable...
This gorgeously assembled Oscar-winning Danish drama explores the nature of violence in a deeply unsettling...