With few options, newly pardoned convict Leila agrees to work as an assistant to a blind pastor. Father Jacob spends his days answering the letters of the needy, which Leila finds pointless...
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With few options, newly pardoned convict Leila agrees to work as an assistant to a blind pastor. Father Jacob spends his days answering the letters of the needy, which Leila finds pointless. But when the letters stop, the pastor is devastated and Leila finds herself cast in a new role.Written by
Pusan International Film Festival
The story is set in 1973, according to the date on the mail-order catalog cover. See more »
In one brief shot, the mailbox in the yard has water streaming out from four holes. This water could not have accumulated naturally, so it was obviously poured into the mailbox by the crew just before the shot. See more »
As far as Finnish drama goes, this is pretty typical, though it has a visual style that's far more cultivated and deliberate than is normal. The film is full of details and carefully thought out use of lighting and sound. Atmospherically this is a very nice film and I managed to fully immerse myself into the world of it.
So what went wrong? In short, the story, which should have been a bit longer. The basic idea is nothing special. A prisoner has served her time and is thus released on the condition that she goes to serve an elderly priest that needs her help answering his mail. Okay, so this is spiritual guest about finding the lost soul of this poor woman, I thought. And unfortunately that's pretty much all it is. And don't get me wrong, that alone could have made for a great film, if handled correctly. But it seemed almost as if the film makers were in a hurry to finish the story before it had had the proper time to unfold. You get the proper three act structure, but nothing more. I didn't feel like I had enough time to get to know these characters. We got the introductory scenes where their basic characteristics were established and almost immediately after that the film just ends. We get the emotionally cathartic ending alright, but it means nothing if we haven't managed to identify with these characters and we cannot do that if we are not given the time to do so.
So yeah, the movie could have used a few extra scenes. Not too many, mind you, but at least a few. Now the mood feels like a whiplash, going from one end of the spectrum to another with almost no scenes in between. There is one or two, but I could have used a third or fourth.
Aside from that major gripe, the film is rock solid. Both of the main actors are really talented and Father Jaakob (Heikki Nousiainen) especially just oozes the elderly charisma of someone who has seen it all and come out on the other side as a better man. Furthermore, the scenery is good, the dialogues are interesting and the whole premise has promise. It's just that I'm far more used to movies that take their time to tell the story so for me this felt more than little jarring. Perhaps it's just perfect for someone who has had a bit more experience with Finnish films, which are generally shorter than most Hollywood productions.
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