Under the Sun

"OK"

Under the Sun Review


Nominated last year for Best Foreign Language Film, Under the Sun is a gentle look at romance through the eyes of a middle-aged innocent. It's a pleasantly simple story, shot with overwhelming beauty, but it falls short in terms of sweeping an audience off its feet.

The setting is the lush fields of Sweden in the late 1950's. Olof (Rolf Lassgård) is a lonely farmer who can barely hang on to the house his mother left to him when she died nine years before. His young, boisterous friend Erik (Johan Widerberg) helps him with errands and some work when he isn't digging graves.

Olof is simple and quiet, and ashamed that he can't read or write. He is also still a virgin. He goes to the local paper to place an ad for a housekeeper, hoping she will also become a female companion. Word gets out around the small town and their priest puts Erik on guard.

Ellen (Helena Bergström) arrives with little warning. Olof is instantly attracted to her and fumbles with conversation as Erik gets aggressively flirtatious, apparently in the protection of Olof. As time goes on, Ellen has set the house in repair and managed the finances without knowing that Olof can't read. She and Olof become romantically involved as she continues to duck Erik's advances. Erik won't rest until he finds a chink in her armor.

This character driven story is respectably able to keep the key players' motivations in question. You never know if Ellen is being coy with Erik or if she is really devoted to Olof, because her past is always in question. Erik seems to care a great deal about Olof but then makes successive comments trying to degrade him in Ellen's eyes. Olof himself appears a simpleton led by around by others but is allowed to show more intelligence as time progresses. This mixture keeps the mind reeling with anticipation as to what will happen next.

However, there are also flaws to the ambiguity. When Olof is finally able to show that he knows more about human nature than he lets on, it is only after he has had intercourse. The film seems to relate sexual intercourse with all newfound knowledge of the world surrounding Olof, which is hard to swallow.

Also, lacking knowledge of the characters' motivations from one scene to the next may keep you on mental toes, but it keeps you begging for the filmmaker to get on with allowing something to happen, already. There are at least eight scenes in which Erik tries to gain Ellen's physical affections and only one in which she stops him to challenge his honesty to Olof. The scenes themselves are intriguing enough to watch, but there are too many of them to keep one's attention from waning.

There is a fairy tale quality to the film that keeps the situation endearing enough to watch. Olof is a large man, and not particularly attractive, while Ellen is slim and perfectly coiffed. A link to Beauty and the Beast can easily by made. Between that, Erik's talk of what little Olof has to offer, and the stunning landscapes in which everything is shot, the viewer is transported into the environment where the characters live instead of merely being a spectator.

Unfortunately this film falls into a difficult category to appreciate. It isn't necessarily a good film for couples, and yet a modern single won't find much to like either. A bit too much like life for our tastes.

Aka Under solen.



Under the Sun

Facts and Figures

Run time: 130 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th December 1998

Distributed by: Shadow Distribution

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

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.