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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.