Hjem til jul (2010) Poster


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Some believable decency for Christmas
doug-69717 September 2010
I loved this movie!

I saw it at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and I was enjoying myself so much I was surprised when it ended in the way time flies when you're having fun. The movie is often very funny, despite the fact that there are lots of serious and painful stuff going on.

It's a Norwegian film based upon a series of short stories. I'm no expert on film-making, but this director must really know his business, because I was completely unaware that I was watching separate stories. It felt very much like one single story even though it was jumping between different ones.

The movie has a very strong belief in the basic decency of people. This doesn't mean that there aren't people doing some bad things. There is no great evil going on here, but these are real people making mistakes and acting badly and hurting each other. But decency predominates. At the same time, there isn't any "sappy-phoney-sentimentality" present. All too often in Hollywood films when people are doing good things it feels rather contrived and is just in there to make the film commercial. In this movie, you do believe that the people in the film would actually do these good things. It's a Christmas movie, but it's 100% believable.

The movie is also educational. You'll learn why you don't buy your wife and your mistress the same Christmas present!
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um, there must be something in my eye
shegoestoeleven18 September 2010
Caught the last screening of this lovely little gem at TIFF yesterday afternoon. Most of the stories are a brilliant blend of heartbreaking darkness and excruciatingly beauty, with one notable exception. The manner in which Bent Hamer crafts the tales is - in a word - astonishing. He has inspired me to search out the collection of short stories that forms the basis of the script.

The cast is note perfect, and the film is lit so beautifully that several of the characters look positively succulent. And yes, that sounds odd, but after you see the film you'll understand.

The ending, which I will not spoil, literally made many of us in the audience gasp. And please stuff a few fresh tissues in your pocket, although it should be noted that I'm a bit of a soft touch.

A wonderful film indeed, Mr. Hamer.
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Hem till Jul
johno-2122 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this at the 2011 Palm springs International Film Festival. this is only the sixth feature film from writer/director Bent Hamer as a director but I am becoming a big fan of his. His only other film I saw was O'Horten which I really liked so I made it a point to see this one. Set in northern Norway at Christmastime, Jordon (Reidar Sorensen) is a former soccer star from a village up north who is going home for Christmas. Drugs, despair and alcoholism have taken a heavy toll on his once promising life and he's trying to get back to his parents house. On the way Johanne (Ingunn Beate Oyen) who runs a Christmas tree lot takes pity on him and offers him some food and shelter and discovers that he was once her friend many years ago. This is just one of the eight stories about the Christmas time of year in this film that are smartly woven together to form a seemingly singular story. It begins in the war-torn Balkans with a young boy named Goran (Arianit Berisha) hauling home a Christmas tree across an urban landscape and in the cross-hairs of a sniper. We also meet Dr. Knut (Fridtjou Saheim) who is working on Christmas Eve and tending to a friend of his Paul (Trond Fausa Aurvag) who is dependent on medication for his depression. Paul wants to go home for Christmas to see his kids but he's recently divorced and his wife Tone (Kristine Rue Slettebakkken) has taken up with another man Hroar (Kyrre Haugen Sydness). On his way home for Christmas after work, Dr. Knut is kidnapped by a desperate Serbian immigrant (Igor Necemer) who needs the doctor to deliver his Albanian wife's (Nina Zanjani) baby in their hideout in a remote cabin. We also meet Karin (Nina Anresen) who is having an affair with Kristen (Thomas Nordstorm) and discovers that he won't leave his wife Elsie (cecile Mosli) as he's been promising to do. Then there is Simon (Joachim Calmeyer) who has just found himself to be a widower. We also have schoolboy Thomas (Morten Ilseng Risnes) who has a crush on his neighbor and Muslim schoolmate Bintu (Sarah Bintu Sakor). Beautifully photographed by cinematographer John Christian Rosenlund and wonderful art direction and production design from Tim Pannen and Eva Noren this is a rich-looking film. Adapted for the screen by Hammer and Levi Henriksen from Henriksen's collection of short stories "Only Soft Presents Under the Tree" I would give this a 9.0 out of 10 and recommend it and will look forward to more Hamer films and hopefully catch up on his ones that I have missed including the much acclaimed "Kitchen Stories."
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A grown-up holiday movie in unmistakable Scandinavian style
greerjohnston17 December 2015
I love this film and consider it a modern Christmas classic. It has many of the elements of a traditional Christmas story – a couple welcoming a newborn in the what amounts to a stable, meaningful signs in the sky, touching and sad family scenes – as well as Bent Hamer's unmistakable wry, Norwegian sense of humour. Certain scenes made me laugh out loud while my husband thought my reaction was odd. I guess you either get his jokes or you don't. Personally, I find all of Hamer's films funny in a droll way. While the opening scene is particularly bleak, don't be deterred. The story quickly changes time and place.

The film gives you a Christmas Eve peek into the lives and relationships of several individuals and couples, young and old, in a small Norwegian town. You see how modernity and tradition live side by side in a peaceful and practical way, reflective of Norway's down to earth cultural maturity.

I thought all of the actors were quite good and well-cast in their roles. There are as many sad endings as happy ones for the characters in this film, so it's a far more realistic interpretation of a Christmas story than "It's a Wonderful Life".

I enjoy Scandinavian films in general and Bent Hamer's films in particular. If you liked "O'Horton" and "Kitchen Stories" this is probably your kind of Christmas film. It was difficult to find a copy of "Hjem til jul", I had to buy a copy of it on Ebay from someone in the Philippines. I'm sure it had decent distribution in Europe, but good luck finding it in North America. No one's seeding it on Torrentz. Still, if you're a Hamer fan, it's well worth the hunt. Now, if only I could find "Eggs"…
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oh no.. Hamer and mush?
dumsumdumfai17 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
On seeing the title, I had 2nd thoughts. Don't get me wrong, I'm not particularly against Xmas. Although I do recall finding this strange when I was a kid growing up. And Yes I didn't come to N.American until 11 yrs. old but was definitely exposed to this - via evangelical Christian's version. So when Xmas WAS full blown for the first time in a strange land... it was 2ndary to the new country ?!?!?!

In the middle of this film when the mush happens to a doctor and he called his wife to say ILU, that was the point I thought this is not quiet the same. Yes this may well be the most accessible Hamer film. But at that point, my response to that scene speaks something about me too.

The redemption for me is for what, for Bent's (or my opinion of) an unusually different opening and closing sequence. The bookends sums it up, brought the whole thing together, and I was relieved. He has made another understated gem. And I thought this film should have been called Life is Beautiful.. but someone's already used it.

The thing I have to mention is the there are many strands here. And the film is partly based on a series of short stories. The details are incredible - like there's Xmas tree in every story.

I wasn't sure about the wide shot of the highway. But the light play of the various intervals of light and dark is interesting. Like the different ups and down of the many involved stories ???

The strangers you meet in the film, it is as if you meet them yourself - but though different eyes. Eyes of other strangers, their loved ones, their new friends.

And I thought I wouldn't have like this.
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