Monday, October 13, 2014


"Copenhagen" is kind of a generic name for a movie. Is it about tobacco? Denmark? That Danny Kaye song? Who knows?

Having seen it, I can tell you it's none of those things. Though it does take place in Denmark, and makes a pretty good travelogue for that fair city.

This is the story of William, a major league jerk who has traveled to Copenhagen with his pal, Jeremy, in order to find his grandfather. Jeremy, unfortunately, has brought his girlfriend along. This puts William in a bad mood: He doesn't like her; it was supposed to be a guy's trip; the impression we get also is that William has delayed this trip, for some reason, on Jeremy's behalf (perhaps) for ten years—maybe so that they could do it together? And now, his fianceé's presence is putting a damper on the proceedings.

Not the least because William wants to tomcat around. He's really, really a jerk. Which, of course, is no barrier to appealing to the fairer sex. Things take a turn for the jerkier when William hits on Jeremy's fianceé. This leads to Jeremy and fiancee splitting for London, leaving the Jerk to jerk around Jerkenhagen.

Actually, that's not fair. Copenhagen does not seem especially jerky.

A young waitress spills coffee on his documentation, which Jerkstein hasn't made any copies of, and which erases his grandfather's address. But she saw it enough to read the address. And by twists and jerks, this movie turns into a buddie/road picture with William The Jerk and Effy The Fair.

You might think I'm exaggerating the jerkiness here, but I'm not. It's important because William The Jerk begins to have feelings for Effy The Fair. Real ones. She brings an energy to his existence that he seems barely aware can exist, not just showing him around the city but, essentially, showing him that he doesn't have to be a jerk all the damn time.

I'm not sure how you say "kleines problem" in Danish, but there is a little problem here, and that is that Effy is young. Younger than William. Young enough to give William second thoughts about being with her physically.

Younger than that, even. No, still younger.

Surprisingly this movie works: I think this is precisely because it is not Lolita. Effy is a young girl, but she's not precocious. She acts her age the whole time. It's just that William is so incredibly immature—and also, one suspects, deprived of that stretch of childhood that Effy is in—that she's practically someone he can look up to.

And Effy, who never knew her father and was raised by a single mother who has trouble holding on to her jerky boyfriends, well, that's almost too clichéd for words, but cliché because it's sadly true.

This aspect is kind of depressing, because it's just so common. Broken families are so much the norm, we don't even call them that anymore. Normal, intact, nuclear families are fodder for horror films now. (Oh, they look normal...)

Anyway, the Boy and I liked it. Good characters. Believable situations (sadly). Adequate resolution wherein the characters evolve, and we see them in a new light. Solid drama.

Freshman feature from writer/director Mark Raso. Starring Gethin Anthony (known to me only as Reny Baratheon from "Game of Thrones", and the only person in the film I knew) as The Jerk, and Frederikke Dahl Hansen, who pulled off playing younger quite expertly.

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