Sonja - The White Swan is the story about Sonja Henie, one of the world's greatest athletes and the inventor of modern figure skating, who decides to go to Hollywood in 1936 to become a movie star. Her first film breaks the box office by selling the most tickets in the world in 1937. She becomes one of richest women in her time, always surrounded by fans, lovers and family, never alone. As she gets older the spotlight is fading, but she refuses to quit. It all collapses when she falls, drunk on the slushy ice, in Rio de Janeiro.
Don't expect to learn much about the life of Sonja Henie
I saw this film last night and although Ine Marie Wilmann gave an outstanding performance as a willful, domineering, forthright, Sonja Henie, one couldn't help feeling as though one missed more than half her story; ie. the reason the film was made in the first place.
The story focuses primarily on Henie's life in America as a Diva/business woman, making bold deals with the film industry and business associates and as a rich spoiled egocentric star who abuses those working for her.
There is a lot of time taken up with her relationship to her assistant - Connie, who is a fictional character. Although this might symbolize the relationship she had with her associates, one has been dealt an empty hand when it comes to knowing how the past contributed to her present psyche in Hollywood.
Her skating achievements are glossed over, portrayed primarily as a little child learning to skate from home movies.
Although the film is interesting because it portrays Sonja Henie (who has not been overexposed in films for most of us), and the fact that Ine Marie Wilmann's acting makes the movie worth seeing, I gave it a 6, because it is at the same time disappointing since we don't really understand the incredible story of this multi-talented artist.
The film is pretty much summed up at the end, when the few flashing epilogue words are portrayed so quickly one can't really read them in the time given.
My Norwegian wife told me Norwegians have a hard time for idolizing anyone, (Knut Hamsun included), who had any dealings with Nazis, which may explain why this Norwegian film was made with the focus it did.
Is it worth seeing? Yes, but one can learn more from a 2 minute reading of Wikipedia about Sonja Henie's life, than from the nearly 2 hour long film.
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