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Reviews & Ratings for
Pure More at IMDbPro »Till det som är vackert (original title)

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49 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

'Courage is life's only measure.' Kierkegaard

Author: gradyharp from United States
19 June 2011

PURE ('Till det som är vackert') is a stunning little film from Sweden written and directed by newcomer Lisa Langseth. It is currently in the 'on demand' section of Eurocinema on television and will likely be released on a USA format DVD soon. The film embraces many subjects - coming of age, the impact of classical music on young minds, affaires de coeur, philosophy, the politics of concert halls, mother daughter relationships scarred by mental illness - and in the end succeeds in dealing with some ethical questions.

Katarina (Alicia Vikander, a brilliant, young, fresh 22 year old Swedish actress) lives in poverty with her boyfriend Mattias (Martin Wallström, a handsome, sensitive blue-eyed actor) in an unkempt apartment where Mattias spends his days watching television while Katarina seeks meaning to her grungy life on the streets as a prostitute. Her family is in disarray - her mother Birgitta (Josephine Bauer) is an alcoholic and a mentally ill wasted person - and Katarina is discontent. By chance she hears some Mozart played on the YouTube and has an epiphany moment. She has been a driven, hurt and hopeful soul, but Hearing Mozart somehow changes that. The music draws her to the Gothenburg Symphony Concert Hall where because of some free tickets she and Mattias hear a performance of the Mozart Requiem as conducted by Adam (Samuel Fröler): the experience bores Mattias but transforms Katarina. The concert hall becomes a magnet for Katarina and as she sneaks into the hall for a rehearsal of the Beethoven 3rd she is mistakenly identified by receptionist Nya (Isabella Bauer) as a potential candidate for job in the hall. Katarina's apparent love for music and her openness gain her the position of Concert Hall receptionist: she has escaped her dreary life and is surrounded by classical music. Gradually Katarina meets and becomes friends with Adam who finds her refreshing and in addition to talking about music he introduces her to great literature and philosophy. The bond grows and Katarina and Adam have an affair, a relationship that is transient because Adam is married. When Adam shares with Katarina that the affair must not go on, Katarina is crushed, and because of the fear Adam holds about her omnipresence in the concert hall, he has her fired. The manner in which this abrupt change in Katarina's transformed new life progresses echoes one of the phrases of Kierkegaard the Adam taught her - "Courage is life's only measure' - and the story takes surprising turns and an even more surprising end.

Much of the success of the film is due to the extraordinary acting by Alicia Vikander, a young talent who seems wise beyond her years as far as intuitive acting skills. The musical score is attributed to Per-Erik Winberg, though the music throughout the film is Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Massenet. In addition to the story being well written and directed and performed, there is a secondary message for the audience: the introduction to classical music and to cultural concepts can change lives of young people if they gain exposure. It is a challenge we should attempt of provide.

Grady Harp

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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Terrific Film

Author: WilliamCKH from Northern California
13 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I caught this movie at our local film festival and found the film fascinating. It tells the story of a young girl Katarina, beautifully played by Alicia Vikander, coming into her own maturity after being exposed to timeless music and poetry. Through abit of courage, she lands a job as a receptionist in city's music center, gradually giving her the skills and independence she needs to succeed in life on her own terms. Her reality is ugly at times, with a mother who is messed up and suicidal. She depends on the men in her life to give her the necessities in life. But soon we see her stronger side, longing for this new reality of beauty and poetry missing from her old life...but it's not that easy, and she does things that are wrong, terribly wrong...A conscience, though, is not a luxury she can all afford. I think the director wants us to take pity on Katarina. Katarina, I think, doesn't want that.

Alicia Vikander is wonderful in the role. She reminds me of a young Sandrine Bonnaire. This is a star-making film for her and I'm looking forward to what she's going to do next.

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

"Commendable directorial debut..."

Author: Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
18 April 2012

Swedish playwright, screenwriter and director Lisa Langseth's feature film debut which she also wrote, is inspired by her own play "The Loved One" (2004). It is a Swedish production which was shot on location in Gothenburg, Sweden and produced by Swedish producer and director Helen Ahlsson. It tells the story about Katarina, a twenty-year-old woman who lives in a gritty suburb of Gothenburg, Sweden with her alcoholic mother who she despises. Katarina's unyielding attitude has lost her many jobs, but after seeing a YouTube video of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Requiem" that makes a profound impression on her, she develops a strong fascination for classic music. In search of a new identity Katarina leaves her mother, her boyfriend and her friends, and lies her way into a job as a receptionist at the Gothenburg Concert Hall by telling the interviewer that her mother was a celebrated concert pianist in Australia who died before she got the chance to know her. Proudly conducting her tasks as a receptionist in her new and improved social position, Katarina meets an orchestra conductor named Adam who charms her with his knowledge about literature, philosophy and the classics of music, but her life spins out of control when she initiates a passionate and secretive relationship with Adam.

Finely and engagingly directed by director Lisa Langseth, this well-paced and intensifying fictional tale, draws an intriguing portrayal of a capricious, strayed and bordering on self-destructive young woman who grows increasingly obsessed with a successful conductor who she perceives as both a lover and a father-figure. While notable for its fine cinematography by Simon Pramsten and art direction by Lena Selander, the naturalistic urban milieu depictions and the efficient score by Per-Erik Winberg, this character-driven and somewhat theatrical thriller depicts a dark and internal study of character which examines themes like class and gender issues, identity and alienation.

This stringently narrated, finely tuned and poignantly atmospheric psychological drama, is impelled and reinforced by the remarkable and emphatic acting performance by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander in her first feature film role and the reverent acting performance by Swedish actor Samuel Fröler. A commendable directorial debut which gained the Flash Forward Award for Best Film at the 15th Busan International Film Festival in 2010, the Best Young Actor Award Alicia Vikander at the 41st Molodist International Film Festival in 2011 and the Guldbagge Award for Best Actress Alicia Vikander at the Guldbagge Awards in 2011.

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

The corruption of innocence

Author: Graham Lawrence from oregon, usa
26 March 2012

Things like music, poetry, philosophy etc are essential details of this film, but otherwise have nothing to do with its theme.

That theme is the corruption of innocence. Which puts it in company with other films like "The Go Between", "Rosetta", "Mouchette" or "Lord of the Flies", but "Pure" is realistic rather than romantic. The director, Lisa Langseth, probably has much in common with Anthony Trollope, who was once described as "compared to Trollope, even Balzac is a romantic".

The entire film depends on the performance of Alicia Vikander as Katarina, and that performance is flawless, first as a young girl of passion, through her disillusionment, and, at the very last scene, to her "graduation".

And special mention should be made of Per-Eric Winberg's music soundtrack, both his own compositions and those he selected from other composers are first class.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Leading actress Vikander is a wonder in this strong, thoughtful contemporary movie

Author: secondtake from United States
30 January 2016

Pure (2010)

A stunning performance by young actress Alicia Vikander and intelligent direction (and strong writing) from Lisa Langseth makes this Swedish film a must see.

When 20 year old Katarina finds an escape from her troubled life in a symphony hall, life turns completely around. And she almost keeps up with the change. But her naivite and powerlessness get in her way, as more powerful or misdirected people in the symphony read her signals the wrong way.

That simple set up is all Vikander needs to make her character writhe and shine and fall into despair on screen. It's psychologically tough, beautifully filmed, paced with a sense of importance. I really liked this all around. The story does in ways fall into a familiar power dynamic between older man and younger woman, and so there is by the end something missing there. But other aspects compensate, and Vikander makes small details revelations throughout.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Fabulous acting by Alicia Vikander

Author: jputte from Brussels
28 December 2015

Well, the script might raise some questions at some points but this doesn't really matter. The intensity, the power and credibility of Alicia Vikanders' performance in this movie blows away the story lines. The sober direction of the movie underlines her performance. One of the best performances I've seen in the last years.

The script is touching many subjects such as poverty, coming-to-age and gender issues, without digging deep in any of them. It is the acting which gives the depth of the emotion to this movie. When she is asked to dance in front of the conductor in a most humiliating way, the scene is so painful that the buildup to the climax feels almost logical emotionally. This is not about ethics, but during the movie, you get dragged into the wild emotions of Katarina. And this is to me the essence of the movie: a young wild women fighting her way through a very troubled life. I don't think the director intends to ask our approval or even sympathy, but wants us to take a journey on the emotional roller-coaster of Katarina, so brilliantly performed by Alicia Vikander. Simply breathtaking.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

giddy heights of brilliance

Author: coiffuremixte
16 November 2012

Music can change your life.

Everyone has experienced this at one time or other and this is the heart of Pure.

In this edgy immensely engaging drama a working-class girl with a borderline personality finds her life's passion in classical music.

The story is not what you could call enticing however the film is a triumph. Next to more prestigious and lauded films, such as Black Swan and Fish Tank, Pure is hands down the easy winner in terms of acting, directing and all round film-making. Alicia Vikander is now breaking out internationally as an actress in Anna Karenina and Royal Affair but once you see this film it is no surprise, she is heart-breaking and awesome in this.

I actually applauded in the screening I saw, this was during the film because of a plot twist and reflected the quality of the film and the brilliance of the script.

Catch this underrated gem as soon as you get the chance. Ken Loach should be worried, there's a new kid on the block and her name is Lisa Langseth.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

'I had too many lives, I did it to survive, So I killed myself today.'

Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
18 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I came across this movie on Netflix streaming. It is the first feature movie for Alicia Vikander, for it to succeed she must turn in a masterful performance and she does. Most of the language is Swedish, with English subtitles.

The original Swedish title translates to "To that which is beautiful".

Alicia Vikander, about 20, is Katarina. Her character is established early when we witness her chasing and wrestling to the lunchroom floor a school boy who was calling her names, 'slut' among them. This established two things, she had a reputation for sleeping around and she had a quick temper. She lives with her young boyfriend who seems like a nice guy but their lives are bland, watching the telly and playing video games.

One day Katarina is on the computer and quite by accident comes across a youtube video with Mozart music and she seems to be transformed while listening to it. She is calm and happy. Then she decides to walk into the city's concert hall one day to find the symphony is rehearsing. It seems she has fallen in love with a music she had no idea existed.

While standing around a lady with the symphony mistakes her for someone interviewing for a job as a receptionist and switchboard attendant. With no qualifications at all she makes up a story that her mother had been a concert pianist in Australia, named Kelly Clarkson. But she died when Katarina was only 2. Struck by her story she was given the job on a trial basis. She turns out to be a model, efficient employee.

Just past halfway in the movie a song is playing on the soundtrack, lyrics:

I killed myself today, For second life replay, I killed myself today

I had too many lives, I did it to survive, So I killed myself today

But somehow I'm not dead, I'm still inside a head, To testify what's real When truth is to believe

And that sort of sums up the story here, Katarina needed to kill the old self to reinvent a new self that would be happy and productive.

Good movie, I really enjoyed it and the performance of Vikander.

SPOILERS: The director of the orchestra was Samuel Fröler, 50-ish, as Adam. He takes an immediate liking to Katerina and she is flattered that a great (in her eyes) musician would pay attention to her. At a social their eyes meet, he motions for her to follow him, they consummate their passion. She goes to his house, they sleep naked, they act like young lovers. But then his wife calls, she is traveling in Italy with the children. He was just using this young lady, barely more than a girl, for his own entertainment, to be discarded when the novelty is gone. Or his wife returns. She doesn't give up easily, Adam instructs that she be fired, she has to be taken out forcibly. After a concert she sneaks into Adam's office, she says she wants her job back. He toys with her, asks her to dance to get her job back, then laughs at her. When he lights up a smoke and reclines on the sill of an open window we know that she will push him out, to his death in the street below. The movie ends with her being re-employed and working with the youth audience outreach. And she is happy.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Right Next To The Great Film La Pianiste or Even Better

Author: directorgod-2 from South Korea
15 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First I tried to find this film because of the actress Alicia Vikander. She is one of the two actress I truly love. One is Mélanie Laurent and the other is Alicia Vikander. Alicia is a bit luckier so far then Melanie. She has been in great movies and is now more famous then Melanie. As watching this movie, I felt that this movie is more then just the debut movie of Alicia Vikander. It is a great film that should be released all over the world. I don't know why it was so hard for me to actually achieve this in my hand. It was so pain for me to take so long. The story is not that new. Alicia has some kind of mental problem and especially when it comes with her mother, she even hits her sometimes. I don't know what exactly what it is but there must be something going on with her mother before. She has a boyfriend and they live together and he seems to understands her well.But that was not enough for her. She needed something else. One day she heard the classsic music from a concert hall and she was just enchanted by it. At that spot, this woman approached her and she thought that Alicia was there for the interview for a front desk job. She tells her a little lies and she was hired. There she experienced listening to classic music. That opens her mind and soul. Not only that. There she also met the comducter, a middle aged man who had a family. He fond Alicia and gives her all kinds of books to read, makes jokes. They made love in the room inside the concert hall, even in the man's house during his wife was not at home. Alicia deeply was effected my the man. She even thought that he truly loved her. She even broke up with her boyfriend. That was the time the man said that I have a family and a job. I cannot risk them both. Our relationshio shouldn't go on. Alicia then becomes mad. He old habbit comes out from her inside. The conductor then tried to dump her by firing her. She lost her job. But she cannot help it and kept followed the conductor. When the conductor succeeded the concert, that day when Alicia comes back to the concert, the conductor says you are not my class, something like that. She was mad and pushes him from the window. She dies instantly. Even the unstable, mentally problem woman like her vomits seeing his deaths. Some time later, when everything was forgottened and she served for the institute and released, the woman who hired her from the concert hall, rehired and she is now working for the children for the concert for kids. At the very end, we see her happy face working for the concert again. The music is a powerful thing that can cure most anything.

When I was 14, I went out from home for 6 months without anything in my hand. There was only one thing which was a cassette player and two casettes. Two music are all I can hear. Being lonly and hungry, I listened to the song again and again till the battery is out. But during listenting, I had no worries. The music seemed everything to me at that time.

For her music saved her soul and her life.

There's an old saying if you have an art, that can make your life keep moving. If you don't have, then you need a religion. You will be so lucky if you have art in your life. Alicia in this movie is lucky and the music saved her life. She has nothing to be afraid of.

I hope you will find this movie from somewhere and be able to watch. The music are so great and make the movie even a better one. Alicia as always is so pretty and graceful. I cannot but to love her for 2 houres. I cannot believe that this was her firt movie.

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"I gave you my purity, my purity you stole."

Author: morrison-dylan-fan from United Kingdom
12 August 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Finding her utterly mesmerising in Ex_Machina,I started looking for the feature film debut of Alicia Vikander,but was disapprovingly only able to find photos of the deleted DVD,which was even deleted on the Swedish Amazon! Nearing 1,500 reviews,I decided that I'd watch a Vikander flick for the run up,and whilst searching for one of her other films,happily stumbled on the debut title!,which led to me at last finding out how pure things can be.

The plot:

Sitting around watching trashy TV with her dead end pals and boyfriend, Katarina starts to feel that this is not the life she wants to have. Taken by the purity of Classical music,gets on a new track in life when she sees Mozart's Requiem performed in concert. Wanting to get closer to the music, Katarina gets a job at the venue. Sent reeling from seeing him conduct Requiem, Katarina starts an affair with the conductor of the venue Adam,who soon shows Katarina that the people behind the scenes are not as pure as the music.

View on the film:

Appearing in the opening moments with half her face in close- up,Alicia Vikander gives a remarkable (feature film) debut performance as Katarina. Utterly frustrated by the ditch her life is stuck in,Vikander shakes Katarina's held-in frustrations onto the screen with a raised voice and confrontational body language. Giving Katarina a love/obsession for Adam verging on the Femme Fatales of Film Noir, Vikander brilliantly unveils the chips in Katarina like a ticking time bomb,as Katarina becomes aware that she is playing a different tune to everyone else. Playing the music Katarina loves, Samuel Fröler hits the high notes in subtly revealing the contradicting strings Adam pulls at,as the charisma Adam shows on stage is torn behind the curtain by an aggressive cynicism.

Joining Vikander in making her feature film debut,writer/director Lisa Langseth (who has also made Hotell and Euphoria with Vikander) & cinematographer Simon Pramsten conduct startling confidence on screen,with extended tracking shots being paired up with Classical pieces to heighten Katarina's emotions. Away from the stage, Langseth gives a documentary level of intimacy to Katarina,with shots in the corners of rooms and down corridors catching her "difficult" personal life.

Giving Katarina the purity of music,the screenplay by Langseth glimpses into her family life in a fragmented style which vividly shows how disconnected Katarina is from anyone showing pure emotion for her. Making their final note be deliciously dark, Langseth keeps Katarina the conductor of the relationship,and tensely plays a tune of engulfing obsession,which rids Katarina of her purity.

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