A tormented young woman is given a hiding place by an elderly lady and soon they are reminded of their mutual horrendous past.A tormented young woman is given a hiding place by an elderly lady and soon they are reminded of their mutual horrendous past.A tormented young woman is given a hiding place by an elderly lady and soon they are reminded of their mutual horrendous past.
And that last word is really the key to this movie. It's quite frankly two different stories, sharing screen time in a single movie. Sure, both stories are about the same family line and even feature characters that are present in both. But they're still joined together more by theme and motive than by anything more substantial. Aliide (Liisi Tandefelt as an elder, and Laura Birn when she was younger) is the one character around whom these two stories revolve, but her elder self doesn't bear all that much resemblance to her past self. Which is kind of the point, admittedly, but it also means that the two stories feel rather separate.
It doesn't help that of the two stories I vastly preferred the one taking place in the 30s. Estonia is a new nation, but already it has come under heavy strain from its mighty neighbor to the east. The bells of war are tolling and it's impossible to remain neutral. And now it's up to two sisters to live their lives as best as they can.
Contrast this to the other story taking place in the 90s. And not just any 90s. The most vitriolically shaded 90s possible, where most everyone seems to abuse drugs, everything is either falling apart or already broken, all men hate and abuse women, and where the only thing of beauty is snow falling on a justly murdered adversary.
Sofi Oksanen has opinions about the recent past, is all I'm saying. I'm sure from her point of view they are justified opinions, but I find her to be a bit much, honestly.
Puhdistus has its fans and the story has depth. It's just not told overly well, at least in this form.
- Nov 25, 2019