A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
The R of the title stands for the young protagonist, Rune, fearlessly played by Pilou Asbæk. Imprisoned for violent assault, he's a cocky, good-looking young man placed in the hardcore ward... See full summary »
Christina is living in a suburb to Copenhagen. With her class mates Cecilie, Trine and Pernille, a tight-knit gang of girlfriends, she slacks her schoolwork, living mostly for the weekends ... See full summary »
Christian E. Christiansen
Julie R. Ølgaard
Kaj is an alcoholic living on the money the Danish state is providing him. Him and his friends spend their time drinking beer at a public bench. One day Kaj's life turns upside down when a young lady and her child moves in next to him.
Marius Sonne Janischefska,
Stine Holm Joensen
Sara is a teenager who lives with her family, who are Jehova's Witnesses. The family's devout image is questioned when the parents divorce as a consequence of the father's infidelity. One night at a party Sara meets Teis, an older boy who takes an interest in her. Teis is not a Witness, and their relationship is rejected by her father, but Sara falls in love and begins to doubt her faith. Facing ostracism from her faith and family, Sara must make the toughest choice of her young life. Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
I read about this movie and thought it seemed interesting, but it still far exceeded my expectations. Inspired by a true story, "Worlds Apart" is a superior drama that delves into one of the world's most intriguing religious groups and the universal theme of divided loyalty.
17-year old Sara Dahl (Rosalinde Mynster) is a beautiful but somewhat introverted student who lives in a small Danish town with her parents, Andreas (Jens Jørn Spottag) and Karen (Sarah Boberg), and her younger siblings, Elisabeth (Sarah Juel Werner) and August (Jacob Ottensten). All are active Jehovah's Witnesses. Early on, Andreas confesses that he has committed adultery. Karen decides to divorce him, but because he is repentant, the children oppose the divorce and decide that Karen should be the one to move out, which she is.
Shortly afterward, Sara and her friend Thea (Catrine Beck) attend a party in which Sara meets a 23-year old musician named Teis (Johan Philip Asbæk). She falls for him, but becomes very drunk. Teis walks her home and the two stay in touch.
They soon get together again and while walking through a mall, Sara is approached by a young man revealed to be her older brother, Jonas (Thomas Knuth-Winterfeldt). The two have a brief and curiously awkward conversation. After Jonas leaves, Sara explains that Jonas was expelled from the JW organization because of reading an improper book and therefore is to be shunned by his family. Sara adds that she only spoke to Jonas because Teis was there. Teis, who is non-religious, quickly becomes hostile toward Sara about the JW belief that only JWs are saved.
Teis finds Sara at school shortly afterward and apologizes for criticizing her faith. The two steadily grow closer and one night at a café, Sara loses track of time and misses her train. She spends the night at Teis' apartment where the two sleep in the same bed and kiss but don't have sex or even undress.
Still, Andreas is very upset and takes her to see the church elders, all of whom are middle aged men. Seemingly led by a man named John (Anders W. Berthelsen), she is questioned about Teis, including whether he touched her breasts or not. The movie doesn't show that act, but Sara says that it happened. The elders do accept her claim that the two didn't have sex and allow her to remain in the organization, but order her to end her relationship with Teis through a letter.
She does so but feels bad about it, especially after learning that Teis has called her several times since receiving the letter but that her family hasn't told her. She asks Andreas for permission to talk to Teis in person. Andreas reluctantly agrees and shortly after Sara visits Teis, he surprises everyone by attending a service at Sara's church. Andreas and John are suspicious and John offers to refer Teis to another JW church. But Teis insists that he wants to hear about God the same way that Sara does. John reluctantly accepts that and gives Sara permission to see Teis provided the two don't have sex.
Teis' faith initially appears to be sincere and Sara's grows as well. She quits school (seemingly some kind of post-high school institution) to become a pioneer (door-to-door missionary). But right after a large JW convention, Teis and Sara have sex for the first time. From there, Sara's faith steadily fades.
Sara says that she's moving in with Karen but actually moves in with Teis. Karen covers for Sara and also secretly sees Jonas. Teis introduces Sara to his non-religious parents, Vagn (Hans Henrik Voetmann) and Jette (Charlotte Fich). Vagn treats Sara cordially but Jette spews out a long list of anti-JW comments. Sara and Teis leave and Teis seems embarrassed by his mother's behavior but reveals to Sara that he's concluded that he doesn't believe in God after all.
Eventually, Sara's façade falls apart. Elisabeth, while visiting Karen, notices that no clothes are in Sara's supposed closets. That leads to Sara being given an ultimatum from the elders leave Teis or be expelled.
I won't reveal her decision but I will say that my only significant criticism of the movie is that a character dies because of refusing a blood transfusion. That strikes me as a forced attempt to emphasize one of the most distinctive parts of JW doctrine. However, that character's funeral is very powerfully used to set up a hard hitting climax.
This is one of my three favorite foreign movies, along with "Noi" ("Nói albínói") from Iceland and "Kissed by Winter" ("Vinterkyss") from Norway what is it about the Nordics?! The performances in "Worlds Apart" are outstanding, the screenplay is very compelling, and there's plenty of great scenery for anyone who appreciates small town Denmark, as I do.
JWs are widely ridiculed and dismissed as being brainwashed. But despite coming from one of the most secular countries in the world, this movie is surprisingly balanced in its portrayal of JWs. While their beliefs and tactics are brought into question, the movie portrays JWs as, above all, human beings. None are demonized and all are portrayed as well intentioned and in some cases compassionate, even if misguided. And they even evoke sympathy because of the torment that stems from their dilemma between loving someone whether romantically or familially and the fear of going against the teachings of the church and maybe even losing their salvation.
I've read dozens of message board postings related to this movie and almost all posters who identify themselves as former JWs describe the movie as very realistic and emotional. And even most with no ties to the JW church can relate to the aforementioned universal theme of divided loyalty.
Unrated by the MPAA but very PG-13 level, this is one of those rare movies that I strongly recommend to everyone.
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