Oslo, 1932. Espen Arnakke, an up and coming Danish born writer who only writes non-fiction, is constantly butting heads with book critic Johan Hoeg, who has not been impressed by anything ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Espen Arnakke (as Nikolaj Coster Waldau)
...
John Wakefield
...
Jenny
Bjørn Floberg ...
Johan Hoeg
Knut Husebø ...
Cafe Guest
Espen Haavardsholm ...
Cafe Guest
Anne Krigsvoll ...
Cafe Guest
John Sigurd Kristensen ...
Cafe Guest
Jeanne Bøe ...
Cafe Guest (as Jeanne Bøe Larsen)
Tonja Sitara Sanborn ...
Cafe Guest
Sven Henriksen ...
Head Waiter
Sturla Berg-Johansen ...
Waiter (as Sturla Berg Johansen)
Stig Hoffmeyer ...
Wilhelm Arnakke
Else Qualmann ...
Amaila Arnakke
Henrik Sloth ...
Janus
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Storyline

Oslo, 1932. Espen Arnakke, an up and coming Danish born writer who only writes non-fiction, is constantly butting heads with book critic Johan Hoeg, who has not been impressed by anything about Espen since his arrival onto the literary scene in Norway. Upon reflection, Espen realizes that there is some truth to Johan's words, regardless of his arrogant tone, based on Espen perhaps not being true to himself in what he is writing. As such, he decides to give his in-progress memoirs to the one person who he truly does want to impress, Johan's girlfriend Jenny, to read. Those memoirs largely detail him trying to escape from his life: escaping from his small town Danish upbringing where he was expected, as was every other male, to work at the town's ironworks, instead of his want to pursue some sort of schooling; and escaping from the sadistic captain and crew on the Newfoundland bound merchant ship he boarded in escaping from Denmark. He ended up in the fishing town of Misery Harbour, ... Written by Huggo

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Drama

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3 September 1999 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Flugten fra Jante  »

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User Reviews

 
A fascinating and dramatic story
30 September 1999 | by (Oslo, Norway) – See all my reviews

"Misery Harbour" is the story of the young Dane Espen Arnakke's (Coster Waldau) life, which he tells us about through a book he is writing some years later, read by his friend Jenny (von der Lippe). About his rather miserable adolescence in the Danish town of Jante, his escape from there on board a ship on its way to Newfoundland, his life in Canada, and how one person can spoil so much for another, John Wakefield (Graham).

Directed by Nils Gaup ("Ofelas", Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film in 88), it is a visual delight, accompanied by some great music, which suits the atmosphere perfectly. The storyline is also fascinating, showing how Espen gets to learn that the norm from his hometown, basically saying that you aren't supposed to believe you are anything, exists in other places as well. The acting is solid throughout, especially by Stuart Graham, who manages to keep a certain nerve to the cruel character he plays until the very end.

Overall, I must say I was impressed (and it's not often I say that about a Norwegian production), and if you bump over it, you should see it.


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