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Thirty-year-old Hlynur still lives with his mother and spends his days drinking, watching porn and surfing the net while living off unemployment checks. A girl is interested in him, but he stands back from commitment. His mother's Spanish flamenco teacher, Lola, moves in with them for Christmas. On New Year's Eve, while his mother is away, Hlynur finds out Lola is a lesbian, but also ends up having sex with her. He soon finds out he and his mother are sharing more than a house. Eventually he must find out where he fits into the puzzle, and how to live life less selfishly. Written by
firstname.lastname@example.org/Peter Brandt Nielsen
This film is a fresh look at life itself. Being set in an unfamiliar environment, it gives the viewer a chance to see what might be an otherwise familiar story with a fresh set of eyes. Well, okay, strictly speaking, the story IS a little unusual, but that's not my point.
There are a few things you should probably know about Reykjavik before you see this movie. It's not really very cold, for one thing. Sitting out at the end of the Gulf Stream, it has very temperate weather, rarely above 72F (20C) in summer and typically around 30F (-2C) in winter. You could probably get by in a sweater most of the year, at least in the city. (Far away from the city, in the uninhabited middle of the country, you'll find a couple of active volcanoes and the largest glacier in Europe.) For another thing, it's an amazingly alcoholic place. When we were there, beer (well, weak beer, anyway) was sold in soda machines. People drink until they pass out in public, especially when getting primed for 3-day weekends (bank holidays), and it's not considered shameful -- their more conscious drunken friends just help carry them to the bus/airplane/car. People line up around the block to get into discos, even in the summer when it's light 22 hours a day. These people party hearty. If this seems like a conflict with what is supposed to be a predominantly Lutheran country, it might be, but nobody seems to let it bother them too much. But, back to the movie...
This movie is both a frank look at this gleefully debauched ambiance, and a more personal look at our hero, Hlynur. For the sake of discussion, let's call him a fully-grown bird yet to leave the nest. You could describe this movie a number of glib ways, none of which would be truly accurate. "Coming-of-age." "Self-discovery." "Rebirth." "The meaning of life." "Sex, drugs, and Rock 'n Roll."
What it is is funny. Really funny. Hlynur is sort of an existential being, and the world mostly happens to him. He's not sure why and not sure what it means. Should he find it tragic, incomprehensible, or just funny? For him, comfortable in the ennui of his unchallenging existence, these disturbances are a bit of a challenge. For us, the audience, what it is is seriously entertaining!
The directing is terrific. The acting is excellent. Victoria Abril is a treat, as usual, but the rest of the mostly Icelandic cast manages to keep up. And the endless "Lola" remixes are hilarious. A lot of fun, highly recommended.
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