Movie Review – Thelma

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Movie Review – Thelma

Category : Movie Review

Director: Joachim Trier

Starring: Eili Harboe, Kaya Wilkins, Henrik Rafelsen

Year: 2017

I expected too much out of Thelma, an indie sci-fi flick from Norway whose trailer caught my attention in a big way.  It’s science fiction with an obvious overlapping metaphor, the paranormal element only serving to highlight the point of the film in an exciting way, not a trick but call it a vehicle.  I wanted this depth to the story and was excited to figure out just what was going on with our title character, just what her special powers represented.  Perhaps my expectations were too high, or perhaps the ceiling for this film was too low, because it definitely did not deliver the punch I was hoping to be rocked by, instead ending as a fine feature with something to say but nothing to impart.

Thelma is off to college after living a sheltered life among Christian parents.  She doesn’t drink, tells her mom & dad everything, and has a hard time making new friends outside of her religion, partially because she simply doesn’t fit it.  School is opening her mind a bit; she’s beginning to find science quite fascinating, some of the beliefs of her youth quite silly, although her father is a doctor and never preached that the Earth was only a couple thousand years old.  Thelma is also trying new things, like alcohol and cigarettes, at the recommendation of a new friend, Anja.  Before she knows it, the two are developing feelings for one another, which is definitely against Thelma’s believes, a transgression that awakens a power inside her that she had forgotten she possessed.

The film’s beginning is very strong, and the story sucks you in right away.  A sheltered girl, the new place she’s experiencing, the scary feelings that she can’t deny; it’s exciting to watch.  And then it’s made all the more so by whatever this power is that Thelma is developing; we begin to learn more and more about the truth of her past and what the future might hold bit by bit.  It’s very cool, very interesting, the time flies by, and the metaphor is clear as it develops.  I just wish the movie had ended differently, and that it had developed more power before it swung its fist for the big finale.  I was expecting a lot, and the first half of the film delivered, but the second simply fizzled out, and I was left slightly disappointed.  Harboe was solid as Thelma, she is a very captivating actress, and the plot was layered nicely, not revealing everything at once.  I just wanted more I think, a little more polish, a little more pizzazz, but the movie filled its given space and was unable to break free to deliver anything else.  A good but not great watch, still something to check out and think about; perhaps it will strike you differently.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆