Copenhagen @ Montreal World Film Festival

copenhagen2When we are young we cannot wait to grow up and as we get older most yearn to be young again.  That battle against aging and maturity wages through most of our lives.  Mark Raso’s indie film deals with this issue alongside such subplots as a love relationship that might be seen as inappropriate due to age disparity and the importance of knowing one’s roots.

 

28-year-old William (Gethin Anthony – from television’s Game of Thrones) has an urge to find out who he really is so as part of his travels through Europe he stops in Copenhagen to root through his family tree.  Copenhagen is the city in which his father was born. While investigating he meets 14-year-old waitress Effy (Frederikke Dahl Hansen), a much younger girl.  A sexual spark ignites until William finds out how young Effy is then he puts the brakes on.  They become friends and she even helps William try and find his grandfather using the only clue to him – a letter written in Danish which William cannot read.

 

Effy has the energy of a young person, but is wise beyond her years and this intrigues William.  A connection between the two begins despite the age difference.  He seems to have finally found a woman who understands him.  It is apparent that William has not had many close friends in his life and this is all new to him.  All this new stuff is happening at the same time some skeletons fall out of his family’s closet.

 

Coming-of-age mixed with a romance can be a tricky load to carry, but Canadian director Mark Raso shows he is up to the test.  It definitely is unconventional and that is a big part of its charm.  He makes the story feel so realistic that you’ll almost feel like a friend looking in on what is going on.  Some might see it as another version using different ages of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation.

 

Some might have a problem with the age difference issue thinking it is icky or degenerate behavior.  The whole will they get together or won’t they might make some sick to their stomach leading to them rejecting the entire film.  The reason why you can get past it is due to the excellent acting by the two leads.  This is especially true for the young Frederikke Dahl Hansen who easily plays the wiser beyond her age Effy.  She constructs a character that is equal parts wise and vulnerable.  Gethin Anthony in some regards has the trickier job as he has been tasked with bringing to life a character that is not very likeable (to say the least).  He is good enough that we still want a guy who is basically unlovable to find love.

 

Director and screenwriter Raso also has written and directed a story that gives us a story that is satisfying emotionally and logically.  This is his debut feature film and demonstrates that he has skills in that he can makes us pay attention to and be invested in a somewhat difficult story.

 

 

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