There are not many raw family dramas that are so well constructed that make you feel like if you were there, inside the movie, living everything that’s going on in the present as well as in the past. Pernilla August debut absolutely will take you inside her movie and not only makes you the observer but also makes you feel the pain and the impotence of not being able to do something while Leena is a child.
You will not see much of the terrible things that happens to young Leena but you will feel everything thanks to an extraordinary performance by Tehilla Blad that plays young Leena and the outstanding visual narrative storytelling that August chose to tell a common story (damaged kids from alcoholic parents) and turn it into a tense, strong, intense, down turning voyage into a damaged family.
But if young Leena is fantastic, older Leena is superb as is played by none other than Noomi Rapace that again gave a strong performance as the happy mother of two young girls that suddenly gets a phone call that turns her happy world upside down as she is doomed to relive her past while traveling to the hospital where her mother is about to die. Can’t help but to think what is to have your real-life husband playing your husband in the movie and see that he is not as good actor as you, must be something not easy to accept. Yes in this movie Ola Rapace, Noomi’s real life husband, plays her husband and definitively is not as good actor as she is. Also with an amazing performance Outi Mäenpää (remember Black Ice?) as Leena’s mother.
Movie has very good tech specs but what stands is editing as an extraordinary tension builder as you know since the very beginning that something not good is going to be seen but August takes us in a slowly built voyage that flawlessly goes from present to past, from happiness to unhappiness, from deep buried secrets to release them, and unbelievable but true, to a happy ending. Great performances by the three female actresses, excellent director, very good tech specs and outstanding editing make this common story into a new, different and very compelling story and consequently, movie.
As we know film premiered at 2010 Biennale where won the Best Film Award in the Settimana Internazionale della Critica and had eight nominations at the 2011 Guldbagge Awards where Pernilla August won the Best Director and Outi Mäenpää the Best Supporting Actress awards plus movie has more international honors in the festival circuit; all honors, in my opinion, extremely well deserved. I strongly recommend this film to adult audiences that like very good and raw family dramas but be prepared for an intense, painful, emotional voyage into the life of damaged people.
Watch trailer @MOC