I loved this Danish film. It is poignant and engaging, an exploration of ageing, relationships and the difficulty of embracing change. It centres around Anna, Erik and their teenager daughter Freja. Set in the 70s, Anna is a well-known newscaster, Erik a lecturer in architecture. When Erik’s father dies, he is left the huge house of his childhood and Anna convinces him not to sell it. Instead they will live in it and invite friends to form a commune.
There is the expected mix of personalities, discussion of house rules and friction when Erik battles with his sudden lack of authority over his house and his life. For Anna and Freja, it seems they finally have a family and people to love. Everything changes when Erik begins an affair with a 24-year-old Anna look-a-like called Emma, who is able to engage with Erik’s ego, making him feel potent and seen. When his affair is revealed, Anna suggests that Emma should move in.
What resonated with me is the exploration of the struggle to maintain sense of worth and relationships as we age. The setting of the commune shows the difficult dynamics of friendship and loyalty when a relationship ends. Emma moving in symbolises Anne trying to accept her husband’s new life and shows the difficulty she has letting go of the past and their relationship. We see how alone she is, even though she has so many people around her.
I found all of the characters engaging, particularly Freja who is the silent observer and the one who sees what is really happening. I wanted to move into that commune. The resolution is sweet and sad and optimistic all at once.
Bechdel test – pass