If you're in a bleak mood, you'll find precious little cheer to uplift you in this (subtitled) Danish film.
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg who managed the highly commendable 2015 version of 'Far from the Madding Crowd', this is a film which is darker and heavier than I'd hoped for.
Set in the 1970s in a town north of Copenhagen, a married couple at the high end of middle age (Trine Dyrholm and Ulrich Thomsen - she a TV newsreader, he a University lecturer), wish to move with their 14-year old daughter into the very same house in which he'd grown up as a child. But it's now a house that's far too big for just the three of them, with the rent and upkeep costs being unaffordable. So a friend is invited to join them as a live-in to help enable them to pay their way. Then another friend is similarly invited, then another couple (with a 7-year old son suffering from, a heart condition and who's convinced that he's not going to survive beyond nine years old)....and so on. In the end there are ten individuals living together.
Tensions simmering under the surface are largely (but not always) kept under control. However, the dynamics of the group are changed radically when the lecturer embarks on an affair with one of his much younger, though more mature, female students (24 years old). When he tells his wife (his daughter having accidentally found them together) she puts a brave face on it and, superficially at least, allows him to carry on with his new partner with her blessing - eventually the new woman joining the commune too.
But of course it can't continue long like that, the wife getting removed from her TV role after 'losing it' on-screen, then getting a bit drunk and turning up home at the communal meal where truths start getting told.
The ensemble casting in this film is of a high order, even if some of the characters didn't have full credibility to me. I could have done with some lighter episodes to relieve the pervading heavy atmosphere but they weren't much in evidence. In fact the entire film struck me as being over-serious, at times quite hard-going. Despite that, and the fact that the film is needlessly prolonged at just short of two hours length, I wasn't terribly bored, even if I didn't want to stay in the company of this group longer than I had to. Not really a bad film, though neither is it one which I'd care to sit through again.......................5.
1 hour ago