Stockholm Stories is a contemporary and humorous multi plot drama about five people whose paths cross during a few rainy days in November. Young metropolitan writer Johan, obsessing over ...
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Stockholm Stories is a contemporary and humorous multi plot drama about five people whose paths cross during a few rainy days in November. Young metropolitan writer Johan, obsessing over his theory on urban light and darkness. Preppy Douglas finds himself in love with the recently dumped and currently homeless Anna. Advertising professional Jessica is denied an adoption because she lacks friends. Workaholic Thomas is distracted from his position at the cabinet minister by a randomly sent love letter. How much light do we need to see each other? And how much darkness to dare to meet? You need to unplug to connect.Written by
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Lets get one thing over with, I work quite close to director Karin Fahlén, she's actually sitting one meter from me right now - but if I didn't like Stockholm Stories I just wouldn't have an opinion about it. That's me, I rather stay quiet and say nothing instead of giving constructive criticism ;) But the truth is, Stockholm Stories is a damn fine dramedy, one of the best Swedish movies in quite a while. And this comes from a dude who usually dislikes modern Swedish cinema.
Based (kinda) on a short story collection written by actor Jonas Karlsson, it's not totally wrong to say it's a Swedish Short Cuts. There's a lot of haunted personalities floating around in Stockholm, and all of them are somehow intertwined with each other. We have the stiff government secretary who one day spots his name on an envelope inside a car. He can't stay away from this mystery and starts to investigate who's car it is and gets obsessed (which is a kind word, he's more or less a stalker) by the woman who wrote it, an even more anti-social and strange woman who happens to have a pointless beef with a comedian over a delicatessen basket he stole from her. Nearby we follow a stuttering young man who fights with a conservative father who want to control his life, include the girl he meets - who happens to be the lover of a certain politician and also the sister of a young and naive writer who want to get out of his father's shadow. And the rest I leave up to you. You get the point.
There's a lot of emotions going on in Stockholm Stories, and thankfully everyone and their story is tied together in the end - not necessary for the best of the characters, at least if you see it a traditional dramaturgical way. I've always felt that there's more good ways to end a movie than with total happiness, sometimes a bit of bad luck can be happy in it's own twisted way.
Director Karin Fahlén and screenwriter Erik Ahrnbom carefully avoids the clichés - just the detail with the naive writer actually NOT being especially talented is a brilliant idea, because that's probably a lot more realistic than him being a brilliant writer like his genius, dead father. Now he's just a pretentious wannabe who just wanna get published by all means necessary. A nice pretentious wannabe, but still. Cecilia Frode, who plays Jessica, almost makes an alien character, totally unattached to the society around her, with odd (and fantastic) clothes and a talent for starting fights just because she can't let it go.
Another favorite character is Peter Carlberg, who plays the conservative father. With eyes so empty (imagine the eyes of a shark) and so emotionally disturbed I instinctively started to hate him the first time I saw him. This in contrast to Pia Halvorsen, who plays his wife - also excellent - but a bitter-sweet, humorous sadness, walking the line between comedy and true drama. I could watch a whole movie with these two personalities - and their stuttering son of course, played by Filip Berg.
But the true star of the show is Karin Fahlén, who tells the story with steady hands and perfect pace. I adore how she deliberately stays at a distance from her characters, visually that is. Kinda lurking far away, almost spying at them -. and gradually comes closer the further the story goes. She shows a part of Stockholm we rarely see, far from the typical yellow picturesque houses and landscapes with famous landmarks place in the middle. There's no Globen, or Town hall no castle or the typical churches. It gives as more realistic view of the south of Stockholm ("Söder") than before, not the usual tourist footage we're treated with in millions of other movies shot in this wonderful town.
Stockholm Stories are far away from what I normally review at Ex-Ninja, but this is one of those Swedish movies that needs a boost at the box office. It's released tomorrow (7/3-2014) Friday in Sweden, go and see it in the cinema and thank me afterwards. I promise you'll like it!
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