Unga Astrid [Becoming Astrid] (2018)

Unga Astrid
Director: Pernille Fischer Christensen
Writer: Kim Fupz Aakeson, Pernille Fischer Christensen
Cast: Alba August, Maria Bonnevie, Trine Dyrholm, Henrik Rafaelsen, Magnus Krepper, Björn Gustafsson
Seen on: 18.12.2018

Coming from a poor farmer’s family, Astrid (Alba August) is a driven young woman who jumps at the chance to work at the local newspaper when she is 16 years old. She gets along well with the editor-in-chief Reinhold Blomberg (Henrik Rafaelsen). In fact, they start to have an affair. When Astrid ends up pregnant, it’s a wake-up call for her. She goes to Denmark to have her son there. As she is in no position to raise him herself, she leaves him with a foster family, but is resolved to get him back as soon as possible. But building a life as a young woman is no easy task.

Becoming Astrid is an interesting biopic that isn’t made by the fact that it is about famous writer Astrid Lindgren – it would have been just as engaging if it had been a film about a woman called Astrid who doesn’t rise to fame later-on. I really enjoyed it.

The film poster showing Astrid Lindgren (Alba August) and her son on a train.

Unga Astrid is a biopic of Astrid Lindgren that focuses almost entirely on her life before she became an author. I thought that’s an interesting choice from the filmmakers – but then again Lindgren lived an interesting life apart from her literary career, so why not. Tying a famous person to a story that could happen to anyone and that doesn’t really have anything to do with her fame has a grounding effect for both the story and the person that is really engaging.

But I guess it does mean that you’ll be disappointed if you’re looking to find more insight about Lindgren’s career – so you should definitely keep that in mind/be prepared for it. The title of the film does hint at that focus and it’s not like they don’t mention that she becomes a famous writer later, but still.

Astrid (Alba August) riding a bike.

Aakeson and Christensen have an eye for complexities and leave room for ambivalence as the difficult times Astrid lives through demand. And from today’s perspective, it felt like a very accurate, thoughtful look at the time. It makes the film even more engaging. And I have to say: absolute respect for the choices Astrid makes. They certainly aren’t always easy.

Alba August is really good and carries the film with apparent ease. Generally, the cast was good, but I have to say, I was also pretty busy with drooling over Astrid’s parents (Magnus Krepper and Maria Bonnevie) who are both super hot in completely different ways. (And yeah, I guess I am at the age now where I drool over the parents of the young protagonist. Well.)

All of this definitely makes Becoming Astrid a gripping film that really spoke to me.

Astrid (Alba August) and Sture Lindgren (Björn Gustafsson).

Summarizing: Very good.

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