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A sort of "Divorce Finnish Style," Mika Kaurismäki's rambunctious comedy, The House of Branching Love , recounts the breakup of a thirty-something professional couple - Juhani, a family therapist, and his wife, Tuula, a successful business trainer. Written by
I saw this film directed by Mika Kaurismaki (one of the famous Kaurismaki brothers) at the 2010 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, and I can say that the entire theater was cracking up laughing at this film. It doesn't pretend to be anything but great comedy - actually black comedy, given that the topic is the break-up of a marriage - and it succeeds very well.
Tuula, the wife, and Juhani, the husband, are a nice couple living in a nice house. He is a family therapist and she conducts motivational business seminars. Both are successful professionals, and both expect to have an amicable separation and divorce once they made the decision to break up the marriage. They start with Juhani moving his bed into another room and the two setting up rules to manage living in the same house until the divorce finalizes.
When one of them breaks an important rule, it starts the roller-coaster ride of hurts and retribution going, all handled in a very funny comedic way! Things are not the same after that.
This film pulls out all the stops showing normal human reactions to separation and divorce with a lot of humor and craziness thrown in. Since it could be described as "divorce, Finnish-style," there certainly are some cringe-worthy moments as well. Relationships gone bad are not pretty.
The craziness gets almost over-the-top when some criminal characters enter the picture, as relatives of our couple! As unlikely as that may be, it adds to the funny situations that occur, so, as far as I'm concerned, all is forgiven! Don't expect anything too deep here, just enjoy the laughs!
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