Film review

Open Hearts

OPENS APRIL 4, CERT 15, 114 MINS

Up for another Danish Dogme film with lots of meaningful glances and amour fou? You should be—this is deeply moving and involving, with acting so fine it hurts. In lesser hands, the plot could've serviced Footballers' Wives: Cecilie (Sonja Richter) and Joachim (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) are blissfully in love, everything ahead of them, when Joachim's hit by a car and paralysed. The car driver's husband is Joachim's doctor, who, at the hospital, becomes Cecilie's shoulder to cry on. Soon, they're more than intimate, and these guilty lovers have to juggle responsibilities and passion.

What could've been a shaky-cam soap is beautifully observed by Leigh-influenced director Susanne Bier. It develops into a scorching study of fragile fate, asking how regular little people react when confronted with something as big as tragedy. It shows the characters flailing as life gets out of control, how the proximity of death and love is always liable to induce chaos. Yet its sense of the absurd, of the comic embarrassment underscoring melodrama, makes a thousand more po-faced weep-fests seem cheap.

Tender, tough and true.

Rating: 4 / 10


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