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Reviews for November 1st, 2019

Queen of Hearts

Directed by May el-Toukhy

      Anne (Trine Dyrholm), a lawyer, lives with her husband, Peter (Magnus Krepper), a doctor. They raise twin girls together, but Peter has an estranged teenage son, Gustav (Gustav Lindh) from his first marriage. When Gustav moves in with them after getting kicked out of his school and mother's home, the relationship between Anne and Peter as well as Anne and Gustav evolves in unexpected and disturbing ways.

      Queen of Hearts is a dark, engrossing and unflinching portrait of a dysfunctional family that makes Ordinary People and Murmur of the Heart look like a fairy tale. Writer/director May el-Toukhy and co-writer Maren Louise K√§ehne take narrative risks that are bold and subversive, especially during one scene that leaves nothing to the imagination. They do, however, compensate for that with a chilling, Hitchcockian scene that trusts both the audience's imagination and their intelligence to boot. Neither of the characters is particularly likable, but that's what makes them all the more fascinating. They're selfish, emotionally unstable and have no shame in crossing boundaries. The less you know about the plot twists, the better because they're shocking, so any spoilers would not allow for those beats to land as effectively, but do be warned that you're in for a roller coaster ride of complex emotions that are frightening and difficult to navigate.

      The underrated actress Trine Dyrholm gives an raw, brave and moving performance in a role that's far from easy to portray so convincingly and naturally. She's the film's heart and soul, so she deserves to be commended for bearing her soul to the camera. She's unafraid to be physically naked as well as emotionally naked. The same can be said for Gustav Lindh and Magnus Krepper who bring emotional depth to their roles without any hamming or schmaltz to be found. It wouldn't be surprising if it were a challenge for each of the actors to shake off these characters emotionally. At a running time of 2 hours and 7 minutes, Queen of Hearts is a shocking, heartbreaking and haunting psychological thriller.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Breaking Glass Pictures.
Opens at Cinema Village.
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