The Heart, which is written and directed by Fanni Metelius, who also stars as Mika, is a film that explores the varying dynamics in a new relationship between two young people, both fiercely independent yet head-over-heals dependent on one another. Good in concept, The Heart is lost on an agonisingly slow-paced, uninspiring script and an on-screen relationship that is difficult to grasp and hard to follow.
The Heart follows Mika, a young and wild woman who works freelance as a photographer and loves partying, drinking, and socialising. She meets Tesfai, who is studying to become a music producer, and she falls in love with him. However, she lives in Gothenburg and he lives in Stockholm, so the two must survive as a long-distance relationship for a little while. The film jumps through this period and heads straight to Mika and Tesfai moving in together in Stockholm. While there is an intense passion between the two, it doesn’t take long for Mika to realise Tesfai has personal issues and low self-esteem when it comes to intimacy, and soon they end up being a couple that spends all the time on either side of the couch watching television and not going out with their friends. Mika gets frustrated, believing it’s all her fault, and while Tesfai tries to reassure her, the relationship slowly breaks down. When they separate, Mika goes on a ‘girls trip’ with her friends to Ibiza, yet she can’t stop thinking about Tesfai. In the end, though, the two have to figure out where to take their relationship.
Metelius has used some very realistic aspects of relationships in her film, and there are some scenes that play out as though they are real. The arguments the couple have, the way they forgive each other, and how Mika handles the breakdown of the relationship is well-written, but the script largely suffers from its unevenness. The party scenes in Ibiza make up a large portion of the film, despite not actually adding to the story. On the other hand, the long-distance relationship, which I feel is key to understanding how and why they fell in love, is shown in a very short period of time. Moreover, the extended sex and masturbation scenes become repetitive and aren’t necessary to prove these two people love each other. There is no real relationship here; all Mika wants is sex and since Tesfai isn’t providing that, they break up. Perhaps I’m old, but this superficiality is not what makes a relationship, yet the very youthful feel of the script makes me feel like I’m the one who is out of touch.
The camerawork and directing save the film from being too dull, and the way-too-long party scenes are at least okay to watch because of the colourful compositions. However, just because the characters are having fun on the screen doesn’t mean the audience is too. The Heart has an interesting concept, but doesn’t seem to have a pulse.
This review is in the March issue of Cinema Scandinavia.
- Written & Directed by Fanni Metelius
- Produced by Rebecka Lafrenz & Mimmi Spång for Garagefilm International
- Starring Fanni Metelius (Force Majeure), Ahmed Berhan, Daniella Mir, Suzanne Reuter