1 user

Poor Maria! (1972)

Marja pieni! (original title)
A young bank clerk tries to pursue her dreams of a better future, but by doing so her life starts to crumble.




Cast overview:
Liisamaija Laaksonen Liisamaija Laaksonen ... Marja Maronen
Hannu Lauri Hannu Lauri ... Jukka Nyholm
Elvi Saarnio Elvi Saarnio ... Irja Maronen
Leena Häkinen Leena Häkinen ... Mrs. Talvinen
Irma Martinkauppi Irma Martinkauppi ... Eila Mäkinen
Selma Miettinen Selma Miettinen ... Maria Takala
Martti Romppanen Martti Romppanen ... Department Head
Roland Ehrstedt Roland Ehrstedt ... Roland
Raiku Kemppi Raiku Kemppi ... Eeva
Eikka Lehtonen Eikka Lehtonen ... Jussi Maronen
Timo Martinkauppi Timo Martinkauppi ... Personnel Manager
Picky Smedberg Picky Smedberg ... Mrs. Laakkonen
Aapo Vilhunen Aapo Vilhunen ... Risto Maronen


A young bank clerk tries to pursue her dreams of a better future, but by doing so her life starts to crumble.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »

User Reviews

Poor Little Maria
23 September 2010 | by random_avengerSee all my reviews

Before Marja pieni, screenwriter Eija-Elina Bergholm had written among other things Punahilkka, a pretty good portrayal of a troubled girls' institution directed by her husband Timo Bergholm. In her first theatrically released film (produced by Jörn Donner), Liisamaija Laaksonen plays Marja Maronen, a 30-year old bank clerk, still unmarried and childless by her own choice. Despite getting a promotion at work, she feels alienated and unhappy; something that is not helped by her problematic relationship with her parents and siblings who don't believe her life can be full without conforming to the marital expectations of society. Marja's boyfriend Jukka (Hannu Lauri) has his own problems and is often too self-absorbed to fulfill her needs. Anxiety keeps tightening its grip on Marja until she cannot take it anymore.

Even though the theme of woman's unhappiness about lack of commitment to family can seem slightly dated a first, the film touches topics much more general than that. The uptight Marja has developed a high sense of self-worth that has in a way shut her off from the everyday life experiences her colleagues share with each other at work, but she comes to realize that she cannot handle everything alone like she has always thought she could. On the other hand, the suffocating marriage of her dying father (Eikka Lehtonen) and self-sacrificing mother (Elvi Saarnio) shows that simply devoting oneself to the duties of family life will not necessarily lead to automatic happiness. An older generation's view is presented by Marja's loving grandmother (Selma Miettinen) who advises her to never fight against her own people but also has to face the fact of not being able to make it on her own anymore, albeit in a different context. The final scenes accompanied by a very 1970s-sounding song make it clear that the film doesn't believe in the possibility of completely self-sufficient but still happy life without caring human interaction.

The black and white photography looks good and suits the bleak mood well. The slender and elegant Liisamaija Laaksonen conveys Marja's emotions on her beautiful face effortlessly and the veteran actress Elvi Saarnio is convincing in the role of the mother with two very different sides, dutiful and liberated, that part ways at the point of her husband's death. Even though the execution of the ideas and the handling of the old theme of modern anxiety are not strikingly original, Marja pieni is an interesting example of Finnish cinema by female directors – I wonder if the ponderings about woman's place in society would be different if the movie was made today.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

4 February 1972 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Marja liten! See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed