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For over 40 years, Harold has been running a successful business, "Lunde Furniture" together with his wife, Marny. But this comes to an end when IKEA decides to open a new superstore right next door to Harold's small furniture shop. Harold and Marny lose both their shop and their home to the bank, and to make matter worse, Marny is starting to lose her memory. In mounting anger and desperation, Harold wants revenge. He arms himself with a pistol, gets into his old Saab, and sets off for Älmhult, Sweden, in order to kidnap his Nemesis - the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad. But unfortunately, Kamprad is quite happy to be kidnapped.Written by
There is nothing flat-packed about this quirky little gem!
"Here Is Harold" is a quirky Norwegian film which walks a fine line between comic absurdism and drama, and for the most part pulls it off quite successfully. I found it be funny, entertaining and touching, and well worth the inconvenience of having to deal with subtitles for the dialogue.
Harold has run his own furniture shop for 40 years when he learns that Ikea will be opening across the road from his store. Harold watches the news of this on TV, and announces to his wife - "We survived waterbeds, we'll survive this." Predictably though, within a short matter of time his small shop goes out of business and we learn that his wife has Alzheimers disease. With his wife's condition deteriorating and the failure of his shop, Harold no longer has the means to look after her and makes the very reluctant decision to place her in a nursing home. His wife, in a moment of lucidity realises that she is being left alone, dies on the spot.
With both his wife and his business dead, Harold decides to burn his old shop down, and also attempts to take his own life by pouring petrol over himself while the shop burns. One of the things I really love about this film is its ability to combine comedy and real drama in the same scene - and in this scene the combination of pathos as Harold decides to end his life along with the comic failure of this to happen works really well and neither the drama or comedy compromises the other.
With his attempted suicide thwarted, Harold decided he will kidnap Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea and hold him responsible. Along the way, after yet another failed suicide attempt,Harold meets Fanny, a young girl who is caught up in bad relationships with both her boyfriend and her mother.
While the film does ask a lot of the viewer to accept the convenience and contrivance of the coincidence that allows Harold to actually kidnap Kamprad, it does set the film up for its second half, in which Harold, with the help of Fanny, tries to work out what he is going to doing with Kamprad now that he has him. All the while, Björn Granath, who plays Ingvar Kamprad hams it up with glee, never taking his kidnapping seriously, and continuing to come up with new ideas for Ikea furniture and refusing to have sympathy for Harold's misfortunes.
There are a few sub plots visited in the film, one depicting the fractured relationship between Harold and his drunken son, who just happens to have an apartment full of Ikea furniture. The other involves Fanny and her mother, whose one crowning glory is she was once a fine champion gymnast, but now lives the life of a drunken slut. This particular sub plot works the better of the two, culminating in a touching scene where Harold and Fanny allow Fanny's mother one moment of blissful nostalgia for her younger, more innocent, gymnastic days.
But the bulk of the film centres around Harold and his bumbling, unorganised kidnap of Kamprad, which features poor Harold trying to 1. work out what he actually wants to do with Kamprad now that he has him, and 2. getting a belligerent and contemptuous Kamprad to cooperate.
There are many absurdist moments of comedy in this film, including a scene where Harold hilariously dresses in bubble wrap to protect himself from a vicious dog, a scene where Kamprad escapes only to fall into ice, whereupon Harold gives chase and falls into the same ice - whereupon they engage in a icy, water bound fistfight. Towards the end of the film, Harold and Kamprad even spend a night in an Ikea showroom, choosing from the huge selection of beds, while Kamprad tells Harold where the switch to turn off the big industrial showroom lights is, like they are buddies.
I really enjoyed this very quirky and entertaining movie and its tone reminded me somewhat of Fargo, with its mix of offbeat, often absurd humour and moments of genuine drama. The only quibble I had with the film was the ending, which is more like an epilogue, involving Harold and his son - I thought it was a little too sweet.
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