Last year, a little-known Norwegian movie created something of a stir.
Thelma plays out more like a supernatural thriller than an out and out horror, but don’t let that fool you as some moments are positively chilling.
At its heart Thelma is a coming-of-age drama as the titular character struggles with her independence from a smothering religious family whilst trying to connect with her sexuality.
On paper, this film could be easily dismissed but there’s a darkness that lies within Thelma’s soul that has been suppressed for so long that it yearns to break free and be unleashed onto the world.
At times feeling like a distant cousin to the X-Men universe. Where the TV series Legion, delved into the fantastical, Thelma beats along with intensity.
Much like the French horror movie Raw, which covered similar terrain in a refreshing way, Thelma doesn’t shy away from the pain and reality that comes with womanhood.
It’s this bold approach that allows Danish director, Joachim Trier to stylise an atmospheric and engaging narrative that hooks the audience in and is no doubt why the Norwegian production team felt confident about entering Thelma into the Foreign Language category at The Academy Awards.
Eili Harboe cuts a fine performance as Thelma and each subtle nuance and emotion is portrayed as she effortlessly guides her character through her metamorphosis. I’d be surprised to not see her go on to better things in the future.
It helps that her support cast are equally captivating and the way the audience oscillates between liking and disliking Thelma’s father and mother is a testament to their skills as actors and the continual shifts in storyline, eking out little nuggets of the past to gain a richer perspective of the family and the levels they have gone to.
This is by no means a blood and guts horror movie, so fans of this side of the genre may find it disappointing, but if you like things more psychological, then Thelma is definitely worth a visit.
– Saul Muerte
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