The teenage years can be tricky as it is. What with school, girls/boys and hormonal changes threatening to take over young alien bodies. With all this going on it’s unsurprising that many adolescents become self-obsessed. However, childhood can come to an abrupt end when there’s no strong parental figure in the picture. This is the situation in Camilla Strøm Henriksen’s new film, Phoenix.

After the break-up of her parents’ marriage, Jill (Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin) has had to step up and take responsibility for looking after her younger brother, Bo (Casper Falck-Løvås). Her mother (Maria Bonnevie) is mentally incapable whilst her father (Sverrir Gudnason) is largely absent. In the run up to her birthday, Jill is excited about his visit and is determined to let nothing spoil it.

Phoenix is a powerful drama which revolves around a breakout central performance from Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin. What makes her performance so good is the understated way Jill confronts each issue. Somewhere between passive acceptance and bitter struggle. There’s an air of the inevitable hanging over Henriksen’s film. Phoenix is a coming-of-age film which launches a new star.

Phoenix is out in cinemas from 13 September.


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