"Monica Z" is a biopic about the Swedish singer and actress Monica Zetterlund focusing on her journey from a job as a telephone operator in a small town in Sweden to stardom in the clubs of New York and Stockholm. During her career, Zetterlund recorded numerous jazz albums and appeared in 10 films. In 1963 she represented Sweden in the Eurovision song contest and in 1972 won Sweden's national film prize - a Guldbagge - for best supporting actress for her role in "The Emigrants" ("Utvandrarna"). Scoliosis forced Zetterlund to retired from performing in 1999. She died six years later after a fire in her apartment in Stockholm. Written by
The film depicts several events in Monica Zetterlunds life in a much shorter time span than they actually occurred, making it impossible to say when it actually takes place. However, the Swedish switch from left- to right-hand traffic (3 September 1967) could be noticed as cars are driving on the left-hand side in almost the entire film, accept in the last scene when they have switched. See more »
Set in the late 1950s or early 1960s at the beginning of the movie, Monica rides in a bus advertising Luxor color TV sets which were first sold in 1969. See more »
I left the theater smiling. It's rare that I get to see a truly good movie, but even more rare than that is that I see a truly good Swedish film.
Monica Z is a biography movie about the Swedish Jazz-singer, actress and variety performer Monica Zetterlund. It begins with the words "Freely based on the life of Monica Zetterlund" and after that tells a story of a talented but self-destructive singer who struggles to get the man she loves and, more importantly, the respect of her father. The film succeeds where so many biography movies fail. Instead of trying to squeeze an entire lifetime in roughly two hours this one has a clear story arc and focuses on a short period in the persons life.
The film has received some criticism for that, though. Some are not happy that the film differs from reality and some believe it to take place in a 15 year time span without the characters, and more specifically Monicas daughter Eva-Lena, doesn't age. However, they missed to read the text in the beginning. This is historical fiction. Many parts of Monicas life are boiled down into a time span of roughly 2-5 years at the most. The point was to tell a story based on and inspired by Monica, not a documentary. And that's why did movie is so good.
Besides the well-crafted story, the look of the film deserves it's fair share of credit too. This is a gorgeous movie, from design to costumes to the cinematography. It's great to look at.
Last, but not least, Edda Magnasson. She doesn't play Monica. She IS Monica. At times this movie feels haunted she's so spot on. Even in the music numbers. Edda performs all the songs herself and sometimes I was fooled that it really was Monica with Edda just lip syncing the words but no, it's her. All the other actors are great as well but they just glow compared to Edda who shines like a Supernova. If nothing else this movie is worth watching just for her.
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