Eleven-year-old Maria loses her little brother to cancer. Her mother retreats into deep depression; her father attempts to keep the family emotionally afloat. Sent to her grandparents' home for the summer, Maria meets Jacob, also an eleven-year-old, but with a completely different attitude to life and loss - he is an outgoing, adventurous latch-key kid with wisdom way beyond his tender years. Their budding friendship helps Maria reach out to her mother so that they can mourn and heal together.Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
First class Norwegian coming-of-age drama; highly psychological story about human search for love
As a Pole, I do not know many Norwegian films since they are very rare in my country. Nevertheless, the Polish TV broadcast this movie recently on Easter time as a sort of challenge. Although nothing special drew my attention in the title, I felt curious to see this film because of my interest in Norway, its culture and foremost its people and their lifestyles. Therefore, Torun Lian's movie highly surprised me as a real masterwork.
The most significant aspect of the film is, I think, the sophisticated but profound content. An eleven year-old girl, Maria (Thea Sophie Rusten), copes with the recovery from the loss of her brother. Moreover, she does not feel loved because her family is divided. Her mother has huge difficulties with getting over her despair. Therefore, Maria is sent to her grandmother's where she stays for a longer time and where she primarily wants to be left alone. One day, however, she meets a boy at her age, Jacob (Jan Tore Kristoffersen), who also copes with the loss but in a totally different way. These two youngsters find their time enjoyable and Maria slowly feels more secure socially. In the end, Maria meets her mum and though still in a shock, a smile appears on Maria's face... Does it mean she finds love?...
There is, of course, no action in the film. Instead, the director draws our attention to psychological aspects of the human being. Though children, Maria and Jacob are very mature, draw very profound conclusions, see the world differently than other eleven year-old because they are more experienced. The indefatigable search for love is expressed throughout in Maria's behavior. Moreover, a starting erotic sympathy raises in the two youngsters. There are excellent moments when this is showed with some sensual references. Jacob starts to look at Maria in a different way but it is, of course, very pure and delicate. Less knowledgeable audiences may find nothing erotic in the film. And that is gentleness of the script! I loved the moment when they sit together on a staircase and look at each other without saying many words. It is important just to be... Their farewell is also very moving. The viewer gets an impression that these are no children but young adults.
The performances are wonderful. Although most of the time on screen is given to Maria and Jacob, the young actors are real artists. Thea Sofie Rusten can wonderfully express different psychological states, from anger, rebel, sorrow to a raising happiness and more stable security. She is breathtaking in the role! Jan Tore Kristoffersen is also very appealing as Jacob. He feels comfortable in the role and does his job very naturally. The film has one of the very best youth performances I have ever seen.
Finally, the brilliant sentimental moments that the film is filled with have left an unfading trace in my memory. The leaves being moved by the blowing wind, the rain drops falling onto the windows, the streets of Bergen in the storm. These are rare things seen in movies but they are a real feast for all fans of psychological films. Human is, as a matter of fact, a part of nature and his/her states are also inevitably attached to the natural world.
"Bare Skyer Beveger Stjernene" is a wonderful film that I would never hesitate to see once again and I would recommend to everyone bored with brutality, murders, and the lack of profound level of thinking in many modern films. See this one if you find chance. Pity Torun Lian's film is not famous! This is a real treasure of the Norwegian cinema! The film that shows one thing: to live means primarily to love and find love.
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