Film Review: Hope

Anja and Tomas

Anyone who has ever waited for results from a medical investigation knows that nagging anxiety. The fear of the worst. Of receiving that news you’ve always dreaded. That prognosis telling you how long you have left to live. Facing up to your own mortality and wondering how you’re going to spend your limited time left on Earth. How are you going to break the news to your friends and family? A woman faces up to these challenges in Hope.

Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig) and Tomas (Stellan Skarsgård) have had a turbulent relationship over the years and have gradually grown apart. While both are artists, he seems to spend most of his time immersed in his work while she ends up taking care of all the family responsibilities. She spent last Christmas in hospital being treated for lung cancer so is determined to make it a special occasion this time round.

At its heart, Hope is an emotive drama which follows a couple trying to stitch their relationship back together during its biggest crisis. Hope works because of director Maria Sødahl’s assured handling of the subject. Supported by two superb lead performances, she ensures that Anja’s story feels firmly grounded in reality. Avoiding a descent into melodrama or the need to add extraneous embellishments. Hope is a powerful and empathetic film about living.

Hope is out in cinemas from 10 December.

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