Hope (2020)

December 5th, 2021
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Maria Sodahl | Drama, Norway/Sweden, 122′

Tragedy proves the turning point for a woman and her long term partner in Maria Sodahl’s raw and resonant semi-autobiographical second feature starring Andrea Bræin Hovig and Stellen Skarsgard. No fireworks here just good, well-crafted storytelling.

Sodahl started her career as a casting director before turning her talents to writing and directing and this stylish film which has a way of making the morbid subject appealing and somehow full of hope, as the title suggests.

The story revolves around Anja (Hovig) who runs a dance company and has just returned from a successful international tour to spend Christmas with her extended family. A meeting with her doctor suggests a need for further investigation which reveals an inoperable brain tumour, possibly connected to the lung cancer she had overcome the previous Christmas. Anja is faced with only months to live. Stellan Skarsgard once again provides solid ballast finding new expressions for his concern, supported by the couple’s various kids and Anja’s likeable father. She gradually works her way through the trauma in a way that is compelling and full of insight, humour and courage. Maria Sodahl drew on her own life experience of the disease which she faced with her husband, Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland (Out Stealing Horses also starring Stellan Skarsgard). The couple’s grief has a transformative affect on their relationship and the ending is surprisingly moving and well thought out. MT

In CINEMAS FROM 10 DECEMBER 2021 | Berlinale Premierr
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