Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Writer: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm
Cast: Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen, Ulrich Thomsen, Trine Dyrholm, Helene Reingaard Neumann, Fares Fares, Julie Agnete Vang, Lars Ranthe, Mads Reuther, Magnus Millang, Anne Gry Henningsen
Seen on: 26.5.2016
[Here’s my review of the play version.]
Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) just inherited the family house and he and his wife Anna (Trine Dyrholm) and their daughter Freja (Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen) are about to move in. But they don’t want to move in alone. Instead they want to build a commune. So they find Ole (Lars Ranthe), the couple Steffen (Magnus Millang) and Ditte (Anne Gry Henningsen), Mona (Julie Agnete Vang) and Allon (Fares Fares) to move in with them. And this works rather well until Erik meets Emma (Helene Reingaard Neumann) after a few years and falls in love with her.
Kollektivet is a well-acted ensemble piece with great characters, but I do think that I was a little more taken with the stage version than with the film.
As far as I recall – though it’s been three years since I saw the play, so I might very well be misremembering – the play wasn’t so focused on Freja. The film tells the story mostly from her perspective and we even get to see her outside of the Commune. I don’t think that was the case in the play.
Be that as it may, it was a perspective that I really appreciated. You have got these adults all going through their shit and they are so wrapped up in it, they don’t actually realize that things are happening with their kids as well. Freja chose the nice option of simply becoming pretty self-sufficient very quickly, while other kids start acting out to get at least a little bit of attention from the adults around them. That it happens to Freja who is in the position of having more adults than most teenagers living with her, is especially poignant.
The cast was really good. Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen gives an impressive debut and easily holds her own against veterans such as Trine Dyrholm and Ulrich Thomsen. Every one of them gives an emotional performance in their own way and it all works beautifully. Also beautiful: the cinematography that proves you don’t necessarily need awesome, sprawling landscapes to create wonderful images.
The film does have lengths, although at the same time I wished that it spend a little more time on the other members of the commune – they did get lost a little in the family drama. Also, sometimes I was hoping for a bit more humor. But even though I think you could have made more of it, I did enjoy it.