Aerobics: A Love Story / 2014 / Anders Rune / Drama

Aerobics: A Love Story, by award-winning filmmaker Anders Rune, is an odd story tackling serious themes of mental illness, while presenting it in an indie and distinctively Scandinavian style that makes it unique from others of similar plots. The story, set in the suburbs of Stockholm, follows Maria, a mentally challenged woman who is living with her sister, Helen, and Janne, a lovable oaf who is desperate to have a show on television. The characters are introduced in a way that makes them flawed but instantly likeable. We see Helen and Maria’s close connection from the very first scene, and Janne’s passion and endearment from his television audition.

As the title suggests, the main driving story in this film is love. In particular, through Maria and Janne. The film addresses controversial topics surrounding mental illness and ones ability to make their own decisions in such a state. Maria runs away from Helen to be with Janne, and that only causes controversy. The love between these two characters is lost to politics and laws. Despite this, Janne is able to recruit Maria to help him with a pitch for a television show about aerobics.

The film follows indie filmmaking styles, with a definite Nordic flair. There is minimal dialogue, and the editing is reminiscent of Lars von Trier’s best works. While the theme of the story is not unique, it is told in a realistic, simple and fresh way that draws you in. All of the characters are believable, and you find yourself glued to the screen right from the opening scene. The final scene of the film is a reminder of Little Miss Sunshine: odd, bizarre, yet entertaining and well achieving of putting a smile on your face.

Overall, Aerobics: A Love Story is an engaging and exciting Swedish indie film that not only entertains you from start to finish, but also educates and discusses important mental illness topics that aren’t talked about in mainstream media. The film is enhanced by its Scandinavian realism, and is definitely worth viewing. For Anders Rune’s first film, it is an indie masterpiece and shows a very promising career.

 

The film won ‘Best International Film’ at the Orlando Urban Film Festival, and has recently had its premiere at the New York Indie Film Festival.