1945, Leningrad. WWII has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Two young women search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.
Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.
Claire, a 50-year-old divorced teacher, creates a fake Facebook profile of a 24-year-old woman. She finds a photo of a pretty young blonde and uses it. She has created an entirely fictional character, but why?
Anne, a successful lawyer, lives in a beautiful modernist home with her two daughters and physician husband, Peter. Yet when Gustav, Peter's troubled teenage son from another relationship, comes to live with them, she forms an intimate bond with him that jeopardizes her perfect life. And what initially seems like a liberating move for her soon turns into a disturbing story of power, betrayal, and responsibility with devastating consequences.Written by
This is the year of family movies, or movies about families. Good movies. The family that is at the center of the Danish film 'Dronningen' or 'Queen of Hearts' is in many ways similar to one of the two families in the Korean film 'Parasite'. It's a wealthy family that lives in a luxurious villa, surrounded by rich vegetation that will play a role in the story and atmosphere of the film. In the two floors villa, designed and furnished according to all the rules of the Scandinavian design, the family of the family of doctor Peter and his wife Anne, a lawyer specializing in crime and teenage abuse cases, lives an apparently happy and quiet life together with their twin girls who have a childhood sprinkled with riding lessons and readings from Lewis Carroll. The balance of the quiet happy family life will be broken by the appearance of the disturbing element represented in this film by Gustav, Peter's son from a previous marriage, a young man just out of adolescence, with some problems and resentments for the early exit of the father from his early life.
I will refrain from telling more of the story of the film, as the action evolves gradually, with many surprising turns both in what happens on screen but especially in the psychology of the characters. As with 'Parasite', we will have trouble trying to fit this film into a cinematic genre. It is a family drama combined with a story about coming of age, an intrigue of love and passion with extreme eroticism, a strong social commentary on the appearances of bourgeois life in the age of political correctness and the apparent protection of troubled youth, and a psychological thriller. Everything is filmed flawlessly, in an elegant and aseptic setting surrounded by an eternally picturesque nature. The film aesthetics makes the brutality of some of the relationships and the action of the characters that we are witnessing appear even more shocking. The film seems to continue in the 21st century the themes of some of Ingmar Bergman's films, with a frankness and brutality that reminded me of Michael Haneke.
It's almost unbelievable that this is only the second film of director May el-Toukhy. 'Queen of Hearts' (for which she is also a screenwriter) is a well-written, smartly constructed, beautifully filmed and impeccably played movie. A film that adds to my recommendations in a cinematic season blessed with many interesting films that challenge the minds and hearts of quality movies fans.
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