Her er Harold [Here Is Harold] (2014)

Her er Harold
Director: Gunnar Vikene
Writer: Gunnar Vikene
Based on: Frode Grytten‘s novel Saganatt
Cast: Bjørn Sundquist, Fanny Ketter, Björn Granath, Grethe Selius, Vidar Magnussen
Seen on: 18.7.2016

Plot:
Harold (Bjørn Sundquist) has spent his life in his furniture shop, priding himself in the quality items he sells there. But after 40 years of this, Ikea opens a shop next to him and it doesn’t take long until he is out of business. To make matters worse, his wife Marny (Grethe Selius), who was always with him, starts showing signs of dementia. With all of his rugs pulled out from under him, Harold thinks of a desperate plan: he will kidnap Ingvar Kamprad (Björn Granath) and make him pay for all he has done to him.

The trailer for Her er Harold promised many things. Above all, it made me laugh. Unfortunately it seems that the best moments were in the trailer. The movie itself was a lackluster, disappointing affair.

hererharold

I don’t know how many films I’ve seen by now that are somehow all about an older man who loses/lost his will to live and then rediscovers it with the help of a young woman, but I’m very tired of it. Of course, there are better and worse examples, and thankfully, Her er Harold avoids most of the ickier bits this story can produce. At least there is never even the suggestions of sex between Harold and Ebba (Fanny Ketter), a 16 year old girl he meets on his way to Kamprad and who becomes his accomplice.

But I still don’t know why they introduced Ebba into the story in the first place. Usually I’m happy about the inclusion of female characters into films, but in this case, it had me scratching my head. Ebba comes from a difficult background, she has been taken care of her alcoholic mother, only to jump onto Harold’s bandwagon and take care of the next older person who has some difficulties getting their life in order. In neither relationship Ebba is important as a person and she never gets any character development. When you so obviously don’t know what to do with a character and they’re so unimportant for the story you’re telling, it simply makes me wonder.

hererharold1Most of the film is spent with Harold and Kamprad (both nicely played by Sundquist and Granath). But what starts with a dash of social criticism, quickly loses its bite as Kamprad is ridiculed so much, he becomes toothless. Yes, the NS allegations are still present, but mostly he is a sad, well-meaning, harmless old man and the film conclusion seems to be that maybe, Ikea and Kamprad are good after all and anyway, he’s not that different from you and me. All social criticism is lost in the realization of Kamprad’s basic humanity.

I might have forgiven that more if the film had made me laugh. But after a pretty furious beginning filled with black humor, the film starts running out of steam and out of jokes, starting to repeat itself, outstaying its welcome despite a short runtime and feeling much longer than it actually is. There still were nice moments here and there, but they were not enough to make the film a satisfying experience.

hererharold2Summarizing: Nah, skip it.

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