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Having just enrolled at a university in Oslo against her stern parents' will, the sheltered Biology freshman and devout Christian, Thelma, leaves for the first time the isolated Norwegian countryside, to start a new life away from home. Tangibly lonely, a casual conversation and one unexpected friendship with the beautiful fellow student, Anja, will broaden Thelma's hazy horizons; however, as the glacially alluring misfit wrestles with an onslaught of novel feelings, little by little, an unprecedented psychosomatic manifestation of repressed emotions start to take over. Indeed, a mystery cloaks soft-spoken Thelma's past, and the more she struggles to renounce her nebulous desire, the more violent becomes her quivering awakening. Can Thelma unearth a denied truth behind the stinging temptation?Written by
Thelma (2017) is a Norwegian drama/mystery/romance/thriller directed by Joachim Trier. This film is Mr. Trier's fourth feature length directorial effort, he also co-wrote the screenplay. the film follows a young woman named Thelma who begins to fall in love with another woman and soon discovers that she has magical powers.
the camera work in this film Is very slick for the majority of the film. the composition of the frames are very well thought out and pleasing to the eye. at times though the hand-held camera segments can become distracting. especially when you've warmed up to the crisp and steady dolly shots and then transition into some shaky hand-held scenes. this however does not ruin the experience. visually, this film is very well put together.
the lead performance is another standout element of the film. Eili Harboe as Thelma is absolutely magnificent. she commands the screen when she has to. the film isn't super reliant on dialogue so throughout many of the most important scenes Miss Harboe must conjure up some serious emotion and does so with ease. the inner struggle of her character is expertly communicated through her physically captivating performance. all of the supporting actors and actresses do a fine job as well, but clearly, Eili Harboe steals the show here. the film would not be as good as it is if her performance wasn't as good as it was.
Thelma's character go's through a serious inner battle with herself when it comes to her own sexuality and her religious beliefs that are basically forced upon her by her family. this conflict is beautifully captured on screen in a VISUAL way. some directors forget that film is mostly a visual art form, but Joachim Trier understands this without a doubt. his use of visuals to communicate conflict are brilliant and artistic.
the only real flaw I can think of when talking about this film is the final act. it seems like it heads in the right direction, then takes a sudden dive into a difficult conclusion that for me was hard to swallow.
overall though, Thelma is one of the finest films I've seen all year.
The Verdict: 9.0/10
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