Camilla Strøm Henriksen (director)
13 September 2019 (released)
13 September 2019
This Norwegian film is remarkable for the performance of Ylva Bjøkaas who is wonderful as Jill a teenager looking after a younger brother and a mother who is a washed-up artist, with mental health issues and drowning her sorrows. A tragedy befalls the family and even though ostensibly playing an adult, Jill is still a child and acts on that instinct.
For what seems as long as she can remember Jill has been looking after the household. Getting brother Bo (Casper Falck-Løvås) to school, getting mother Astrid (Maria Bonnevie), now living on past glories into a ready state for interviews, and course getting herself an education. It’s a struggle that is just something she does since her father Nils (Sverrir Gudanason) left.
Who lo and behold returns for the 14th birthday along, on her day, he chooses to show off his glamorous new girlfriend. Taking them out for a meal he revels in his material success as a jazz artist which is all he has as spiritually he’s something of a loser as is later revealed.
All told it’s remarkable that this pair ever had a child let alone one as responsible and sensitive as Jill, as they show no empathy towards her. Her mother destroying her blouse in a fit of rage and her father arriving in the restaurant just pulling the floor away from her on her birthday.
It devastates Jill but she carries on. At one point her father says he knows what she is thinking but he doesn’t. And that is one of the key aspects to this film: Jill’s thoughts. As we wonder what she is thinking of as she takes the decisions she does and her actions thereafter. It’s clever writing from writer and director Camilla Strøm Henriksen on her debut.
The colour pallete is moody which suits the overall tone of the film and complemented by a brooding score from Patrik Andrén and Johan Söderquist.