Syk pike [Sick of Myself] (2022)

Syk pike
Director: Kristoffer Borgli
Writer: Kristoffer Borgli
Cast: Kristine Kujath Thorp, Eirik Sæther, Fanny Vaager, Sarah Francesca Brænne, Fredrik Stenberg Ditlev-Simonsen, Steinar Klouman Hallert, Andrea Bræin Hovig, Henrik Mestad, Anders Danielsen Lie
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2022

Content Note: ableism

Thomas (Eirik Sæther) and Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) have been together for a while. Thomas is an artist, and he is just getting famous. Signe feels increasingly disregarded by him. She craves attention. When she witnesses a dog attack at work and administers first aid, the story she can spin from it gives her the attention she wants, at least for a while. But when that doesn’t work anymore, she needs to take more drastic measures.

Syk Pike is a dark comedy that impressively shows why narcissism is a mental health issue. It made me both laugh, and ache for Signe.

The film poster showing Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) sitting in a wheelchair, smoking. Her face is completely bandaged.

There is this tendency to throw around narcissism as an explanation of why somebody is an inconsiderate asshole. That’s because people don’t understand how painful and destructive it can be when everything revolves around you, has to revolve around you. This film does, and it impressively captures the pain Signe is in, while never excusing how fucked up her decisions are out of that pain.

And yet, this is not a drama as it may sound from that. This is a comedy, and one that works really well – apart from a running gag with a blind character who is shown as borderline incapable (there is one moment where that character exclaims in frustration that her life would be easier if things didn’t get moved around all the time, but it’s too little acknowledgment of an ableist environment to really offset the ableism in her being the butt of the joke). There is some nice persiflage of the contemporary art scene, and the world of fashion, but probably the funniest moment was when Signe fakes a nut allergy – the look on the chef’s face alone was priceless.

Thomas (Eirik Sæther) pushing Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) in her wheelchair, her face bandaged.

Kristine Kujath Thorp is fantastic in the role, and Borgli took care with the script, so anytime you maybe start to hate Signe, the two of them bring us back to her vulnerable side and remind us that there is a reason for her behavior. It doesn’t make Signe a very likeable character (though she is that much more likeable than Thomas in my opinion), but it makes her a sympathetic one.

That all of this comes with a sense of levity and no little amount of energy is really quite impressive and made Sick of Myself another highlight for me at the festival. Notwithstanding the Rottweiler slander the film engages in.

Thomas (Eirik Sæther) and Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) walking on the street together.

Summarizing: really good.

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