Open Hearts

"Excellent"

Open Hearts Review


Anyone who has suffered the pain in the gut after the loss of a loved one will have a special connection to this story coming to us from Denmark. Loss can have many meanings and here it's a matter of a sudden change of destiny and the disappearance of emotional fulfillment as a result of an accident. Moreover, it's a story that evolves as life does. A horror occurs, the people involved react, the change in situation produces new needs which lead to changes and consequences.

The relationship between beautiful, sexy Cecilie (Sonja Richter) and her lover Joachim (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) is fun and endearing and we soon care about these people whose bond is expressed by the playful manner in which Joachim asks Cecilie to marry him and how she responds in the affirmative. The following morning, Cecilie drops Joachim off for a planned trip and, as he springs from the car on the traffic side, is hit by a car. Suddenly, what seemed so sure and positive is wrenched into another dimension.

The woman who was driving the car that struck him immediately stops and tries to render assistance. We learn that she is Marie (Paprika Steen), mother of three and that her teenage daughter Stine (Stine Bjerregaard) (pronounced Steen) was in the car urging her mother to drive faster. Both mother and daughter are devastated by the event, taking their individual share of blame.

Joachim enters surgery at a hospital where Marie's husband Niels (Mads Mikkelsen) is the attending physician. While Cecilie waits for word of the surgery, Niels, at the urging of Marie, goes to her recognizing that care giving is a matter for all involved, not just the victim and not just a matter of medicine. Finally, the results come in the form of good news and bad. First, Joachim will live but, second, he is paralyzed from the neck down. When the surgeon lays out these facts for Joachim, the realization of what this means to his and Cecilie's relationship and the life they envisioned registers. Everything has been altered. Permanently. It is not mere shock we see on the faces of the characters, but in this dramatically pivotal moment we glimpse the unspoken interior dialogue, the struggle to align a new reality to their existence. In terms of acting, this moment of unspoken meaning alone is worth the price of admission.

Joachim's coping mechanism is to envelop himself in bitterness and the cold rejection of Cecilie. She won't accept it, though, and counters with repeat visits, her protestation of love, and the desire to take care of him always. Finally his demands drive her away and Cecilie is left with searing emptiness at the same time that the comforting relationship with Niels turns into a new, if tentative, fulfillment. Teenage Stine is the first in Niels' family to recognize the meaning behind her father's interest in Cecilie and she becomes the catalyst for a confrontation between her parents.

But what will happen in this marriage as a result? And what will become disrupted if Joachim has a change of heart about seeing Cecilie? The story moves into those ramifications as well as some unexpected ones with deliberate diagnostic detail. A fine understanding of human motivation makes for an absorbing drama laced with a brief dose of humor and a steady drip of irony. Its emotional accuracy suggests that one or both writers (Anders Thomas Jensen and Susanne Bier) have gone through some form of loss in their lifetimes to lend insight into the intricate patterns of behavior following the trauma of a great change in circumstances. Exploring them is a first rate ensemble of actors.

The production values demonstrate that a well-told story doesn't depend on a big budget. The filmmakers have chosen the minimalist Dogme style. From a filmmaker's perspective, this basis for excusing the low budget is nonsense, and it primarily means that no auxiliary lighting was employed. Cinematographer Morten Søborg turns this to his advantage by artfully using natural light and fast film. The hand-held camerawork, always a distraction, is acceptably done. But, to call it "documentary style" misunderstands the control differences between a scripted drama and the ad libbed, spontaneous nature of the documentary. This is distinctly the former and a fine expression of it if, at nearly 2 hours, it is a little on the long side.

Aka Elsker dig for evigt.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th September 2002

Distributed by: Newmarket Films

Production compaines: Zentropa Entertainments, Det Danske Filminstitut

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 54 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Cecilie, as Joachim, as Niels, as Marie, as Stine, as Hanne, Niels Olsen as Finn, Ulf Pilgaard as Thomsen, Ronnie Lorenzen as Gustav, Anders Nyborg as Robert

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.