Based on the true story of director Niels Arden Oplev’s own two sisters, ROSE is a heartwarming movie about love and devotion --- particularly sisterly love. It stars Sofie Gråbøl, a well-known Danish actress, as Inger, who suffers from schizophrenia.
Ellen (Lene Maria Christensen), Inger’s sister, and her husband, Vagn (Anders W. Berthelsen), are taking Inger to Paris on a bus tour in the summer of 1997. Once the threesome boards the bus, Inger proceeds to announce that she suffers from schizophrenia, immediately alarming half the people in the group, including Andreas (Søren Malling), whose son, Christian (Luca Reichardt Ben Coker), is instantly drawn to Inger.
After a rocky beginning, including Inger insisting upon a burial for the dead porcupine she finds at a German rest stop, the tour group arrives in Paris. It soon becomes apparent that the tour guide’s French is limited, so to everyone’s surprise, Inger takes over proving her fluency in the language. She even manages to save the day when they arrive too late at the D-Day Museum in Normandy.
But Inger has an ulterior motive for being in Paris. She has in her possession a letter from her first love, Jacques (Jean-Pierre Lorit), whom she believes still lives in the city. When Christian locates him, Inger, Ellen, Vagn and Christian embark on an adventure that will change their perceptions of love.
Oplev, who also wrote the screenplay for ROSE, has created a truly wonderful film around this eight-day journey. The characters are richly drawn, and the actors do a splendid job bringing them to life. Gråbøl is especially effective as Inger, who realizes she suffers from mental illness, but still wants a life worth living. It’s a marvelous, zany performance --- one that definitely frustrates Ellen and Vagn. But Christensen and Berthelsen are up to the task. Vagn’s patience is beyond admirable and poor Ellen’s exasperation is understandable.
The entire ensemble is fantastic in their efforts to illuminate Oplev’s moving familial depiction of two sisters and their deep love for one another. ROSE is surprisingly humorous and distinctly poignant --- a beautiful tribute to his own siblings.
Opinion: See It Now!
Based on the true story about a woman diagnosed at the age of 20 with schizophrenia, ROSE is a Danish film certain to capture the hearts of any serious filmgoers. Anchored by the absolutely wonderful portrayal by Sofie Gråbøl as Inger, we follow her on a trip to Paris with her sister Ellen (Lene Maria Christensen) and brother-in-law Vagn (Anders W. Berthelsen).
Many travelers smartly choose to ride a guided tour bus when visiting a foreign country. The group of vacationers in ROSE had no idea what they were in for with Inger in their midst. Shortly after their bus takes off for Parisian sights, Inger announces she is a schizophrenic, and before long she is explaining her sexual exploits with an ex-boyfriend to a pre-teen lad named Christian (Luca Reichardt Ben Coker).
Unfortunately, Christian is the son of Andreas (Søren Malling) who is also on the bus with his wife, Margit (Christiane Gjellerup Koch). The father immediately adopts a hostile attitude towards Inger --- there’s one in every crowd.
When the travelers arrive at a museum featuring an exhibit about D-Day in Normandy, it is closed for the day and the managers refuse to open it despite the desperate pleas of the people. However, Inger speaks fluent French and convinces the museum keepers to open the facility, thus salvaging the day for all. She becomes an instant hero, even to Andreas, if only temporarily.
The relationship that builds between Inger and Christian makes for heartwarming comedy/drama. Ellen, as Inger’s caretaker, along with help from her husband, is believably tolerant of Inger’s frequent odd behavior. Besides, it was their idea to bring Inger along on the trip.
The entire cast is perfect. But it is Gråbøl’s marvelous performance that makes the film so special. Writer/director Niels Arden Oplev’s screenplay hits all the right notes. He imbues Inger with frequent moments of clarity and normalcy that make her condition that much more pitiable. And Inger’s search for her ex-beau Jacques (Jean-Pierre Lorit) --- who resides in Paris and may have contributed to her mental state with their breakup --- is logically staged.
Oplev was at the helm of Scandinavia’s highest grossing film of all time, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2010). He knows how to extract top performances from a cast.
ROSE is not to be missed.
Opinion: Strong See It Now!