Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
Beautifully tragic sophomore feature for Joachim Trier.
Lead actor Anders Danielsen Liewith his angular face and bright eyes that challenge both individuals and society at largeis mesmerizing as a recovering addict. First lost to depression and then funneled inevitably into an existential crisis--from which there may be no exit. "Oslo, August 31st" is based loosely on Pierre Drieu La Rochelle's 1931 novel "Le Feu Follet". Scandinavian director Joachim Trier's self- assured and immensely despairing adaptation proves that he is indeed an up-and- coming director to watch.
Anders (Ander Danielsen Lie) was once a promising writer, blessed with talent and a supportive family, but lost his way by hard living and harder drugs. Fresh from rehab he heads to Oslo for a job interview. He is a given a day pass from the house for a job interview, taking him back into Oslo where he encounters those of his past. The film follows Anders throughout the day with extended conversations with various people that tell as much about Anders as they do about the person he is talking too. Everything we learn about Anders and his past is only through these interactions, never resorting to flashbacks. Much of the tension from Joachim Trier's second feature comes from the tightrope Anders walks between common sense and temptation. It is fair to say that all does not go smoothly, but Trier deftly avoids melodrama and Lie invests what could have been an unsympathetic role with humanity, humor, and dignity.
"Oslo, August 31st" is a day in the life of a broken soul. Trier is in absolute command of the medium throughout, and his storytelling techniques are impressive, insightful, and heartrending. Anders is, or was a winner, but not spectacularly so. He was just a good writer. The script conveys with cold accuracy the effects of throwing away six years of a life, and the collateral damage to family and loved ones. Anders is not beaten down or haggard. He is sharp and healthy. The damage is inside. And as always in "real life," the problem is not the drugs. Joachim Trier's sophomore effort is simply extraordinary. Joachim's simplistic approach enables the audience to form a compelling bond with Anders, developing compassion for him, thus solidifying it's authenticity. For additional reviews visit:http://www.rottentomatoes.com/member/Nesbitt10
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