Love & Will is a film told in two stories. Each story is about a young woman undergoing some sort of difficulty, whether it be a family issue or mental illness.
In the first half of the film, we follow Isabel, a Norwegian woman working at a karaoke bar in a small Swedish town. She loves to party, drink, and enjoy her life. At the same time, she is intimated by other women, easily out of control, and struggles with any form of intimacy. When the film reveals she has a young child she refuses to see, we watch a painful interaction as she makes one last attempt to bond with the child. Before any sort of conclusion, we switch stories and now follow Jessica, a recently single young woman who moves into an apartment bought by her parents for her. However, she is struggling with an unknown mental illness that she refuses to diagnose, and the illness takes its toll on her ex-boyfriend, who constantly has to reassure her.
It’s very hard to understand this film, and I left the cinema, which was surprisingly fully packed, feeling confused and frustrated that this film had an audience at all. The plot is not difficult to follow, and the characters are without any form of complexity that may create a sense of confusion. Instead, the film plays out as some melodramatic stereotyping of weak women, unable to handle any sort of difficulty that comes their way, and they regularly abuse men as an outlet for their first-world frustration. I am not sure what the director was trying to achieve here, and what he was trying to say about women. We regularly see the women roll around on the floor as though it was a scene taken straight out of Lars von Trier’s The Idiots, and there is not a conclusion that shows these women overcoming their situation. Instead, they are forever suffering, often in situations they create for themselves.
This review is in the March issue of Cinema Scandinavia.
- Directed by Marcus Carlsson
- Produced by Lovisa Charlier for Mariedamfilm
- Written by Ingebjørg Buen, Marcus Carlsson, David Levi & Johanna Strömberg
- Starring Amanda Renberg, Arvin Kananian, Magnus Sundberg (A Man Called Ove), Johanna Strömberg & Ingebjørg Buen (The Commune)