Director: Joachim Trier
Cast: Eili Harboe, Kaya Wilkns, Henrik Rafaelsen
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Language: Norwegian with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Norway-France-Denmark-Sweden 2017 116 mins. (15)
Joachim Trier (Reprise, Oslo, August 31st, Louder Than Bombs) swops realism for the supernatural with a lesbian, coming-of-age sci-fi thriller.
Thelma's (Grethe Eltervag) father (Henrik Ragaelson) turns his rifle away from the deer and points it at his young daughter's head. Is there a hint of fear or lothing for his daughter in his eyes? Fast forward ten years and Thelma (Eili Harboe), a biology student at Oslo University, isolated and ill-at-ease with her new found freedom, her parent's daily telephone calls to check up on their daughter's routine, an unnerving intrusion.
A violent seizure in the university library, birds crash into the window and an immediate and reciprocated attraction to fellow student Anja (Okay Kaya) unlocks dormant, supernatural powers. Her strict religious upbringing means begging God for forgiveness and asking to be rid of her lesbian feelings. Diagnosed with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, Thelma is afraid of herself.
With nods to Hitchcock and Brian De Palma's 'Carrie,' Joachim Trier's imaginative, unnerving, slow burn thriller remains a mystery. Why is Thelma's mother (Ellen Dorrit Peterson) in a wheelchair? Did her father consider killing his daughter? Are her parents the sole reason for the reawakening of their daughter's supernatural powers?
Melancholic, beautifully shot by Jacon Ihre with a haunting score (Ola Flottum), Joachim Trier's move into the supernatural with emotional intensity and an underplayed style, perhaps too underplayed, replaces action and outcome with a guessing game.