At the beginning of the 20th century, Marie is married to Denmark's world famous painter P.S. Krøyer. They are among the country's most admired and famous couples. All the great men of the time - politicians, businessmen, noblemen, scientists, writers and royalty - wish to be depicted by Krøyer, and he can ask any price he wants. To be painted by him is a great honour and comes with great prestige. Marie, who adorns several of Krøyer's paintings, is considered to be "the most beautiful woman in Europe". Together with their daughter Vibeke they experience all the best life has to offer: parties, champagne and luxury. However, this is only the polished surface. Beneath it is living hell. Krøyer suffers from manic depression and syphilis. He can change from being cheerful and upbeat, to a foaming crazy monster without any boundaries, also within his relationship to Marie and Vibeke. Marie has struggled to keep up appearances for a long time, but the situation is wearing her down. She is ... Written by
Beautiful to behold but nothing but empty calories.
Bille August's first film in Danish, since he won the Academy Award for best foreign language film in '89 for Pelle the Conqueror, is a lackluster affair. On the plus side it's very picturesque and the two leads (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen and Søren Sætter-Lassen) are quite good (especially Hjort Sørensen in the titular role) but we never really get under the skin of the characters.
What could've been a great exploration of one of Denmark's most famous painters, an examination of turn-of-the-century marital problems, a fine period piece or even a decent love story, is neither. It's a sub-par script with no development and, frankly, a quite boring film. Unless you're really interested in Danish painting and beautiful scenery, I'd stay clear of this one.
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