Jakob proposes to his boyfriend, Jørgen, during a party in their apartment. He later kisses Caroline, the wife of Jørgen's brother. It becomes an affair.Jakob proposes to his boyfriend, Jørgen, during a party in their apartment. He later kisses Caroline, the wife of Jørgen's brother. It becomes an affair.Jakob proposes to his boyfriend, Jørgen, during a party in their apartment. He later kisses Caroline, the wife of Jørgen's brother. It becomes an affair.
The best thing about this film is Troels Lyby, who seems to have hot on just the right combination of humor, sadness, realism and indecision for "Jorgen." Particularly good is the scene where his friends try to cheer him up as his partner packs up to leave. His slow disintegration during lunch is an example of really good acting. He never lets his character get too maudlin or too "I'm putting on the cheery face for you" (as an American actor would have done).
Mads Mikkelson, however, is nowhere near as good. His "Jakob" seems mopey, bored, angry and closeted. Where is the thrill of finding a new sexual partner he's obsessed by? The script clearly calls for that, but Mikkelson never really gets the audience to believe that Jakob is truly fascinated by Caroline. Mikkelson seems to be just going through the motions in so much of the movie. One could say that Jakob is deeply conflicted by his sexual and emotional attraction to Caroline; hence, the sullen acting. But I just don't buy that. The script never calls for that explanation, and Mikkelson doesn't bring it off anyway.
Peter Frodin as the outlandish Frederik is your stereotypical hysterical queen. But he brings it off without offending us, becoming obnoxious, or turning Frederik into a cardboard cut-out. (His scene where he describes his angst over "Sailor's" refusal to come out of the closet and love him is really quite good.)
Less effective is Charlotte Munck as Caroline. In part, this is due to the material she has to work with. I never really felt that Caroline was suffering that much in her failing marriage to Tom (Jesper Lohmann). Sure, Tom is never home. But Caroline doesn't want another baby anyway, and Tom being home would increase the pressure on her. So why does she turn to Jakob? The whole movie hinges on us believing that Caroline and Jakob really share a deep, festering obsession with one another. But the film never goes there, and as a result half the movie (anything to do with Jakob and Caroline) just doesn't work that well. (Munck, however, is superb in the Swedish skating-rink scene. her physical acting and facial expressions really convinced me that she was finally, truly happy.)
Jesper Lohmann is given even less to work with, and as a result his Tom is just a caricature of the work-a-holic husband. (It makes absolutely no sense for him to be the salvation of Jakob and Jorgen's marriage. It's a cute ending, somewhat along the lines of "Flying Down to Rio." But it makes no sense.)
Watch for superb bit performances by Morten Kirkskov and Henning Jensen as the super-fag married couple (particularly their two scenes mid-movie, one where they are horrified that Jakob has turned straight and one where the "ugly secret" of their marriage comes out). Oskar Valsoe is really good as the lone straight (?) man in the bunch, without falling over into supercilious liberal guilt (as so many American films would push the character).
The editing is just superb, and the cinematography at times really reaches for your heart. The soundtrack is very good -- when it is there. It's too bad there wasn't more if it (a la "Muriel's Wedding" or "Boogie Nights").
And okay -- so the script at times falls into triteness. Jorgen loses an eye after driving drunkenly through the night after hearing Jakob's confession. Like we didn't see that one coming! (After "The World According to Garp," this is just too, too common a story-telling trick.) The ending, too, is just far too pat. The inclusion of the horse was just so bookend-ish, it really pushed the conclusion far beyond acceptable storytelling limits. But overall, this film is rather good. I had a very pleasant time watching it.
- Oct 18, 2003