Skyggen af Emma (1988) Poster

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A beautiful and deeply moving story
gkearns2 July 2000
I was surprised to find that this precious gem of a movie was sitting here in a dark corner of the IMDb without even one comment. Perhaps it's the Danish title, "Skyggen af Emma"; I guess it doesn't particularly lend itself to casual surfing. The English translation, "Emma's Shadow", will get you there if you know what you're looking for. And the movie truly is a precious gem. Sure, you have to put up with subtitles, but they don't really get in the way of understanding what the movie is all about. The essence of the movie is to be found in the evolving loving relationship between eleven year old Emma, a bright, complex, but neglected child of affluent self-absorbed parents, and the simple Malthe, an ex-convict who works in the city sewers. The profound feelings that develop in each for the other doesn't require dialog. Their faces and eyes and body language speak those feelings far better than any author's words could. In fact, the final scene is carried through without one word spoken - and becomes as deeply moving a scene as you're ever see in any motion picture. Actually, there are several scenes of powerful emotional impact along the way as true love sets in solidly between the two. I don't think I'm giving away anything when I say that the capstone of their relationship is in the beautifully understated hotel room sequence near the end of the picture. That and the final scene I already mentioned will bring a tear to any but the coldest of hearts. It must be noted that Line Kruse, as Emma, and the veteran actor Borje Ahstedt, as Malthe, put in masterful performances. It appears that the picture is out of print at the present time. That's a shame. The world needs more such movies. Real beauty is becoming harder to find in present day literature. However, it should still be available in some rental stores. It's worth going out of your way to see before it sadly disappears entirely.
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excellent film
appledoctors12 October 2001
This is one of the best films I have ever seen in my life. My mother tongue is Chinese and I did not understand the language in the film. I had to watch the English subtitles. All these did not reduce the attraction of the film. I could easily feel the love in the film.

I always hope that there will be a dvd version so that I can keep it for ever. Surely I will pass it to my children and hopefully grandchildren.

Don't miss it if you come across it.

God bless.
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Oh, it's a very choice, unique, touching story...
TheInvisibleCar14 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, not really any spoilers per se, but since I might just allude ever so slightly to content of the character of the movie, rather than any specifics, I thought a spoiler alert only fair.

I did read one critic, somewhere, who thought this movie was unrealistic, asking what planet this story must be from to even be possible. But wait, during my college days, wasn't the country this very film is from one of those countries where murders and handgun killing numbers were being compared to the American numbers, like in 1978 in the U.S., 15,000 were killed, in Sweden, 6, France 9, yes, Finland, like 2 or something, so yes, these planets do exist, right here on earth, even today, although increasingly rare. There still exist even cities that house relatively peaceful cultures were this story could just as well be based on a true story. The movie is set in one of those foreign cities where people could actually memorize the names of everybody murdered in their country last year, because the list is just that short! I seem to remember a time in the mid 1960's when places in the US were still this peaceful and trusting, people leaving their house doors unlocked all day, nobody knowing where the kids were at until they came home at sundown, and so on. This movie is just set in one of those sorts of cities, a planet, or world rather, right here on earth, that does exist. One of a few such cities were this story would be very possible, just exactly as it is. So, why not just enjoy the beautiful story for just what it is, rather than doubting it even possible, and assuming it just can't be possible, because there no way that we can stop being suspicious of certain classes of people enough to just believe that people, even young people, could form a connection of trust and friendship with them. Seems to me when I was a young child, most of us tikes had our favorite old people we actually liked and enjoyed seeing. I just believe this movie, and I love it.

I just want to know, am I going to have to keep my VHS player, just because they won't put it on DVD for me?
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Beautifully filmed and sensitive. A truly fine film!
naturalbohemian13 March 2009
This film truly deserves 5 stars plus. It is beautiful, thought provoking and poignant. The acting is superb, especially on the part of the obviously talented Danish actress Line Kruse, who plays the role of a willful, spoiled and materially indulged child. She is also spiritually and emotionally starved by her distant and self absorbed parents. After staging her own kidnapping, she stumbles upon a simple Swedish ex-con and sewer worker (acted wonderfully by Borje Ahlstedt)who is basically viewed as a social outcast amongst his fellow workers and neighbors. The tender friendship that ensues between the two social opposites is extremely touching. The setting for this Danish film is during the 1930's and it captures the period in beautiful style. I own this movie on VHS and am hoping that it will be released on DVD sometime soon. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who loves meaningful and beautiful movies.
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Interesting but too many plot holes and logical leaps
MartinHafer17 December 2005
There was a lot I wanted to like about this movie. The acting was good and the story very interesting. The problem was, despite all this, there were some HUGE holes in the plot that just made the movie look contrived.

The story begins with a bratty 11 year-old (Emma) being ignored by her self-involved mother. As her family is rich, Emma decides to fake her own kidnapping. And I liked it when it becomes apparent just how indifferent Mom is and how apparently decent Dad is--though because he works so hard he finally realizes he's taken his little girl for granted. I liked the basic plot so far.

However, what do you do with a little girl? Any place she hides in the city, people are bound to recognize her or at least ask her where she lives. After all, an 11 year-old can't just wander the streets indefinitely. This is where the plot all falls apart for me. A lonely sewer worker takes her in and believes, at least at first, her ridiculous story. He never checks this out for himself but allows her to stay there for several days!! Huh?! Then, she collects the ransom money (with the assistance of some neighbor boys) and takes them all to stay at the fanciest hotel in town and live like royalty?! And STILL no questions? Ultimately, the man is arrested because they think HE kidnapped Emma. But, in the end she tells the truth and everyone is apparently satisfied!! Talk about contrived! This could never happen on any planet I have ever visited!!
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