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Thread: BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE (Tuva Novotny 2019)

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    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE (Tuva Novotny 2019)



    Flimsy feel-good fantasy from Sweden

    An obsessively cleanly 63-year-old Swedish housewife (her remedy for all ills is rubbing in baking soda) leaves her husband of 40 years when she learns, or finally has to admit, that he's long been cheating on her, and winds up in a remote, dead-end town coaching football to ten-year-old misfits, with uplifting results. The feel-good conventionality of this Swedish story exceeds even that of its predecessor from Swedish author Frank Backman, A Man Called Ove. That one contained more black humor, and had a different director, Hannes Holm, but nonetheless was similar feel-good quirkiness for the elderly art-house audience.

    I have to admit I get sucked into feel-good bootstrap tales when they push the right buttons, and this one does. Also, like Ove, this film keeps you hanging on hoping the hints of Aki Kaurismäki will bear fruit with something bracing and tart. But they don't, because there's a moe simplistic and corny sensibility at work here.

    Pernilla August, as Britt-Marie, is sympathetic. Her borderline OCD character hovers between pathetic and admirably plucky. Her face can look haggard or noble, depending on the angle. But her character is largely passive. This is an advert for the saying that 90% of life is just showing up. The kids are cute. The finale is forced, and also vague.

    The various authors depart from the book in inexplicable ways, perhaps just to simplify the production. Despite the alterations, this may best please existing fans of Backman's numerous novels. This little movie is intermittently appealing, but it winds up doing too little to remain memorable.

    Britt-Marie Was Here/Britt-Marie var här, 94 mins., debuted at Goteborg Jan. 2019 and opened theatrically in Sweden then; later in various northern regions. Its US release is Sept. 20, 2019. Metascore 58%.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 09-30-2019 at 11:37 AM.


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