Berlin Review: Lone Scherfig’s ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ Drowns in Mawkish Sentimentality

Where to begin with a film like The Kindness of Strangers? Well, Lone Scherfig’s new ensemble romance, which inexplicably opened the Berlin Film Festival this week, is certainly not lacking in good intentions, nor is it lacking in mawkish sentimentality either. Indeed, as its dizzyingly sincere title suggests it is about as maudlin and hopelessly idealistic a film as one is likely to see in 2019, concerning a beleaguered and perfectly sympathetic mother of two who goes on the run from an abusive husband and finds goodwill in the most unlikely of places–and we’re talking unlikely in the most straight-faced of manners.

Strangers is the tenth feature film of Scherfig’s thirty-year career, a body of work that began on Danish television in the ’80s before having its crowning success with An Education in 2009, a film that rode the wave of Carey Mulligan’s mercurial breakthrough performance all
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