Denmark | Sweden 2019
VOD release on May 5, 2020 (re COVID 19 cinema closures)
Directed by: May el-Toukhy
Writing credits: Maren Louise Käehne, May el-Toukhy
Principal actors: Trine Dyrholm, Gustav Lindh, Magnus Krepper
Maybe the film should have been titled Ice Queen. Anne (Trine Dyrholm), blonde, fortyish, and sophisticated, leads the perfect life. She is a respected lawyer, an advocate for traumatized and abused children. Her equally handsome successful physician husband Peter (Magnus Krepper) is the ideal partner, though he bristles a bit as he is the one who always has to make the compromises. In a crunch she masterfully manipulates him to get her own way with barely a whimper of opposition from his lips. Their adorable young twins Frida and Fanny complete the ideal upscale Scandinavian family living together in a modern, looks-like-it-was-featured-in-a-magazine, country house. The décor is sleek, minimalistic, and cold, much like the ice queen herself.
Enter Gustav (Gustav Lindh) Peter’s delinquent teenage son from a previous relationship. Gustav and Peter are distant and distrustful of each other. It is Anne who takes charge of this disaffected adolescent. She brushes off his petty theft in their household. She buys him a laptop and sneaks off with him to a bar for a drink and cigarette during her own dinner party. Isn’t it heartwarming the way middle-aged Anne can communicate with youth?
And communicate they do. Predator sex is her game and Gustav is her willing victim. While he is looking for a sense of belonging and family, Anne lives out her own erotic fantasies quite pleased with her hold on him. Anne’s sense of her moral superiority and entitlement override any ethical qualms. The object of her lust is exactly the kind of child she has spent her life defending from abuse. Gustav is just a vulnerable, troubled kid who thinks he can play in the big leagues. How could this end badly? (Pat F.)