This is another movie that I saw weeks and weeks ago but because I am so slow etc. I wasn't sure about seeing it, but when I let Anne Ida decide, this was what we ended up with. It's based on a novel by Karin Fossum, the acclaimed crime fiction writer (although this is a mainstream story, not a thriller) which Anne Ida absolutely loves. She's read it several times apparently and it's one of her favorite books ever. I've never read it, but someone thinks I should. ;-) She really wanted to see the movie version and I had no objections.
Brief plot summary ('brief' on this blog, yeah, right): Aina, our heroine, has had some kind of unspecified breakdown, has attempted suicide through jumping through a plate glass window while in a very confused mental state and has therefore been sent to an institution for the mentally ill. She denies her problems, admitting only that she's 'had kind of a hard time lately' but claims she can deal with it on her own. She certainly doesn't belong in the nuthouse. Initially she feels no connection with the other patients, perceives them as crazy in relation to herself and sees no similarities. Her therapy mostly consists of her repeatedly telling her therapist that he can just let her go home, because she's fine now. In group therapy she's freaked out by her fellow inmates. But over time as she gets to know them and their back stories, she realizes that … crazy is as crazy does.
Seen it before? Yeah, probably. This is a good movie but not a great one … it tells a story that does draw you in, but it's not very original. The setting is convincing and the characters are plausible, the acting is pretty good for a Norwegian movie and there are some really good performances. I would single out Fridtjov Såheim and Rolf Kristian Larsen … the latter especially gives a wonderful performance here, and considering this is only his third movie (he is so far best known for his brilliant portrayal of Jarle Klepp in Mannen som elsket Yngve) I was really impressed with him. Rolf Lassgård appears as the inevitable Swede in the form of Aina's well-meaning but demon-ridden therapist – he does a good job as always, but be prepared to concentrate really hard to catch all his lines through his less than stellar diction. The director should have been a little stricter with him on that score.
Overall this was a good movie – both sweet and sad, and also thought-provoking IMO … as Aina learns her life lessons the audience gets something to think about too. But it wasn't very original – it deals with issues that have been dealt with in many many movies over the years. And of course, when it comes to Norwegian movies about people learning to cope with depression, there’s nothing to beat The Art of Negative Thinking. :-)
Worth seeing, but probably won't change your life. ;-) Anne Ida was disappointed with some of the characters, as apparently they were more out there/in your face in the book, and seemed to have been dampened down for the movie, but as I have never read the book I can't really say. We were both happy that we'd seen it. :-)
Don't forget the giveaway! :-)