Took the first shaky steps on the big project today. We took ourselves off to see Så som i himmelen. The movie is about a famous conductor, Daniel (Michael Nyqvist), who responds to a heart attack by retiring to the white winter of his childhood village in Norrland, in Sweden’s far north. He moves into the abandoned school house and begins to meet the locals, who each are wrestling with their own past and present demons. Some of the locals are friendly, others are Daniel’s former bullying school mates who have now grown up but unfortunately not changed. Daniel is recognised as the famous conductor and invited to listen and give advice to the church choir at their regular Thursday practise. Daniel accepts the role of choir master, and finds himself out of his depth, but like many a teacher before him, a couple a calls to a sympathetic expert gets him started. As winter’s grip on the landscape begins to release, the relationships likewise begin to thaw, and like the new Spring growth, the choir develops and grows. Daniel makes both friends and enemies. In the end, he finds again, 59 seconds. And love, in many layers. And that’s all it takes.
I don’t know if it’s a true story, or based on a true story, or just a story; but I want it to be a true story. I thought the movie was a guy flick – in that respect, not unlike Big Fish. Having spent some time in Sweden, the images and characters were excruciatingly Swedish – the insanely big American car, the music, the landscapes through the seasons, the importance of coffee, the insanity of alcohol – the only thing missing was a moose, although there was a shoeshoe hare. The swedish was ‘BBC swedish’ rather than the rather more challenging northern accents, but I don’t feel that distracted from the movie at all. A good movie all around – probably about a four tissue movie, guys could probably get away with just a couple (just don’t get busted later ‘trying to find your true voice in the shower’ – we’ve heard it before and it even frightens moose).