3 May 2009 | Red-125
For better or for worse
Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick (2008), directed by Jan Troell, is showing in the U.S. with the title "Everlasting Moments." It's an unusual movie, and I enjoyed it, but it's hard to describe or review.
The film takes place in Sweden, roughly between 1900 and 1920. It's more or less an "I Remember Mama"-type memoir, narrated by the oldest daughter of a married working-class couple--Maria Larsson, played by Maria Heiskanen, and Sigfrid Larsson, played by Mikael Persbrandt.
Maria Heiskanen is a very attractive actor, but this part calls for her to appear relatively plain, which she manages to accomplish. (Sort of like Betsy Blair appearing as "the dog" in "Marty.") Her husband is a basically decent sort of guy, who was considered a good catch when they married. Unfortunately, he's a mean drunk and, even when sober, he's not always the best of spouses.
What makes Maria different is that she has won a camera in a lottery, and her ability to take photographs moves the plot forward, insofar as it moves forward at all.
The film more or less meanders along, with episodes that appear realistic enough, but that don't always seem to be heading in a clear direction from beginning to middle to end. Time moves forward, and people--and the actors who portray them--get older, but the movie doesn't unfold in an "A therefore B, B therefore C" sort of way.
This is a movie to watch if you don't demand sex or action, if you don't mind a slow pace, and if you don't mind a movie that appears to be shot more in sepia than in true color. I enjoy that kind of film, so I liked "Everlasting Moments." If your tastes don't run along those lines, I'd pass it by.
Incidentally, we saw the film in a theater, but I think it would work well on a small screen.