April 20, 2015

Silent Heart (2014)

Silent Heart (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Bille August
Country: Denmark

Movie Review: A very typical mood, composed of inherent tension and restrained laughter, it’s perceptible since the first minutes of the Scandinavian drama “Silent Heart” - part reflection on euthanasia, part portrait of a dysfunctional family. Directed by the veteran Bille August (“Pelle the Conqueror”, “The Best Intentions”), the story follows a family reunited during a weekend to spend their last days with Esther, the matriarch who suffers from ALS (a disorder involving the death of neurons). With the consent of the rest of the family, Esther has decided to spare everyone from the hardship that is stealthily approaching, and put an end to her life under the supervision of her doctor husband, Poul. Present at the reunion are: their exemplary older daughter Heidi, accompanied by her husband and adolescent son; their vulnerable, depressive younger daughter Sanne who took her weed junkie boyfriend with her; and finally Esther’s long-time best friend, Lisbeth. As expected, the plan won’t be too simple since the daughters planned to boycott the action after changing their minds for different reasons. A variety of personalities and needs, revelations and insecurities, old family memories, and some fabricated misunderstandings, make the rest of the story until the last moments, where the drama intensifies. In my eyes, the ending was a bit contrived, but Bille August, who always had a flair for pretty decent dramas, leaves in the air a sensation that he’s capable of giving us much better than this. From gentle to bitter, the sometimes-manipulative “Silent Heart” has its best scene when all the family agrees on smoking pot. The images were painted with dismayed colors, punctuated here and there by outdoor beautiful landscapes. Does serenity live here?

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