Alphabetical Menu
Chronological Menu

Reviews for November 15th, 2023


Directed by Niels Arden Oplev

      Inger (Sofie Gråbøl), a schizophrenic woman, embarks on a bus trip from Denmark to Paris with her sister, Ellen (Lene Maria Christensen), and Ellen's husband, Vagn (Anders W. Berthelsen). Along the trip, she bonds with Ellen while befriending a young boy, Christian (Luca Reichardt Ben Coker), whose father, Andreas (Søren Malling), treats her with contempt.

      Writer/director Niels Arden Oplev has woven a heartfelt story about sisters who go on a journey together. Their journey is not only a physical one, but also an emotional and psychological one that displays their unconditional love. When Inger introduces herself on the bus, she bluntly informs everyone that she's schizophrenic. Ellen explains to the other passengers that Inger has a tendency to share every thought that crosses her mind. She even says out loud that she wishes she could strangle Ellen. One of the passengers, Andreas, judges Inger for her disorder, but Christian and Ellen don't.  Fortunately, Rose sees and treats her as a human being, warts-and-all. Kudos to Oplev for showing empathy toward her. She comes across as intelligent, honest, sad, angry, regretful, witty and surprisingly funny at times, so she's hard to fit into a box and very complex which makes her all the more relatable. She has both likable qualities and unlikable qualities.

      Oplev has a wonderful handle on exposition because he doesn't reveal right away where Inger's emotional trama comes from nor does he resort to the use of flashbacks too often. Her trauma has something to do with the painful memories of her ex-lover, Jacques (Jean-Pierre Lorit), from a few decades earlier. There's a somewhat contrived, but nonetheless heartfelt subplot where Inger briefly gets to reunite with Jacques with the help of Christian. The dialogue during those moments sounds too "on-the-nose." Another contrived scene occurs when Inger convinces the staff at a museum through emotional blackmail to re-open the museum after closing so that Andreas can fulfill his dream of visiting it. She falsely claims that he's schizophrenic which is played for laughs, but it's not very funny. In another scene, Andreas gets into trouble accidentally while he flies into a fit of rage. Those issues aren't systemic, though, and they don't diminish that film's emotional resonance either.

      Sofie Gråbøl gives a genuinely heartfelt and raw performance while finding Inger's emotional truth. Much of the film's poignancy comes from her performance more than it does from the screenplay. Her emotionally generous performance opens the window into Inger's heart, mind and soul very wide while concurrently allowing the audience to empathize with her. Writer/director Niels Arden Oplev moves the film along at just the right pace while rarely going too slow or too fast. The scene that feels the most rushed is when Inger confronts Jacques out-of-the-blue. Moreover, the scene where Andreas gets into trouble has awkward editing when it transitions to the next scene without any mention of what had happened or how he had gotten out of trouble. He's among the few characters in the film who doesn't have much of a character arc and seems more like a one-note caricature. Fortunately, Rose remains a poignant and cathartic journey grounded in humanism, a truly special effect. At a running time of 1 hour and 46 minutes, it's a warm, bittersweet and captivating story about unconditional love.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Game Theory Films.
Opens at Regal Union Square 14.