Maskeblomstfamilien is based upon the book from 2003 by Lars Saabye Chrustensen, with the same name. The story is about 15 year old Adrian Wang, which in Oslo, Norway in the mid 60'ies, is an androgynous not knowing what he is, except being different.
He grows up with his parents being ashamed of him, something he doesn't realize until he overhears a conversation between his parents, ending with a question if it would have been better if he wasn't born.
The parents has not done anything to the situation, except managing to keep Adrian off gymnastics classes at school, thanks to a doctors hernia-lie. His only friend is an albino neighboring girl, and they're both bullied for being different back in the 60'ies. Though the ones bullying him doesn't know Adrians big secret.
The lies in the family makes an unloved child grow up doing things wrong over and over. A life where nothing is the way it's supposed to be. Wrong feelings grow in Adrian. A cold, mean, lonely, scared boy also being immensely tough, strong, beautiful and daring.
The story evolves tragically, and is hard stuff to both see and comprehend. The story is beautifully filmed, and Adrian is unbelievably well played by young debuting Marcus Aarnseth. Very well casted, as the rest of the cast.
This is heavy. You really hate the story, though it is quite believable. Though immensely tragic. This is also the films problem. Though wanting to love the story, it's really difficult to watch that what you really want to go well, doesn't. You realize it's impossible. In the cinemas this film flopped due to this, though having great and popular showings on festivals.
Nowadays we know more about these things, and it is no doubt easier to be in Adrians situation than it was 50 years ago. Still I'd so much like Adrian unwillingly not to seek his own destruction.
I'm very much impressed by the acting in the film, which is superb, but I hated the story for not being more positive. Though I usually hate the opposite in e.g. a Hollywood movie, I really hate it here. Adrian is not growing up, being less and less able to experience happiness. This is too sad to be the profound masterpiece this film deserves and wants to be.