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

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

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.