Go Ask Alice When She Is On DemandAugust 10, 2011

Go Ask Alice When She Is On Demand

Eurocinema

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: DEAR ALICE (Eurocinema).

 

DEAR ALICE
A universal story reminds us that life is just about six degrees of separation….

By Cynthia Kane

 

What might attract most U.S. audiences to DEAR ALICE is that Danny Glover plays one of the principal roles in this ensemble cast. What I love about his performance is that he once again proves himself a formidable actor and that the egoistic hand of Hollywood stardom has never blemished him as an artist.

Why is he acting in a Swedish film, one might ask? Why not? Swedish director Othman Karim does come with some clout. His 2005 OH, SARA won top awards at the Moscow International Film Festival and introduced Alexander Skarsgård (HBO’s TRUE BLOOD) to the world.

 



The story takes place one ordinary day in Stockholm where four persons’ lives - four persons struggling with major, but to others seemingly trivial, issues - invariably mesh, collide circumstantially and change each other’s life paths forever.

A Gambian immigrant, Franzis Namazi (Danny Glover) trying to bring his family to live with him in Sweden struggles with the right to stay and with economic breakdown, unable to keep his little shop selling African tchotchkes and art afloat; a former television star, Bosse (Ulf Brunnberg) is suddenly replaced by a younger, ethnically diverse star at Swedish Television, only to find his beloved wife is deceiving him with a younger version of himself; a husband and father, Moses Said (Peter Gardiner) who himself is a first generation African-Swede attempts to deal with his wife’s ascendency in the corporate legal world, while attempting to send money to his hospitalized father in a village in Uganda – the transaction held up by the international forces considering that anyone with the name of Moses Said must be sending money to fund terrorist activities; his blonde Swedish wife, Karin Carlsson-Said (Tuva Novotny) faces her first day as a corporate law partner, only to discover her new partners insist she drop her Muslim husband’s surname; the final connecting element that bonds them forever is a narcissistic and troubled actor, Hakan (Stefan Sauk, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) ignores the warnings of his lawyer, Karin, and sets off on an alcoholic rampage.

 


What starts off more or less in the tone of a welterweight television drama soon escalates into a human disaster of monumental proportions. One might easily compare this to Paul Haggis’ 2004 film CRASH; there are lesser comparisons to Robert Altman’s SHORT CUTS;
DEAR ALICE takes place within a single day. Director, Othman Karim, himself a Ugandan immigrant whose family fled the regime of Idi Amin and moved to Sweden as a child, understands well the changing face of his adopted country. Particularly the story of Moses Said resonates, as this very thing has happened many times in every Western country since 9/11, where innocent civilians are unable to wire money, send goods, et cetera to family members, because their name is or sounds of Islamic origins.

It’s a skillful film on many levels, the least of which is the multiple planes on which the story is told. It’s at once a cautionary tale on human nature and emotions run amuck and how quickly simple events can spiral out of control; the most revealing element for me was the surprise I felt at how the story caught me, unaware, and held me captive in the end… and in that end, I cared.

 


DEMAND IT
 

- Cynthia Kane

Cynthia
Cynthia Kane reviews documentaries for On Demand Weekly. She is a writer and Sr Programming Manager for [ ITVS], overseeing the International Initiative for funding in their SF office. Prior she’s had many incarnations from actor to writer to producer. She co-created DOCday on Sundance Channel.

 

Look for DEAR ALICE (Eurocinema) under your cable system's On Demand section.

Read Other Reviews By Cynthia Kane:

KAREN CRIES ON THE BUS - DEMAND IT

MY DOG TULIP - DEMAND IT

WE ARE THE NIGHT - DEMAND IT

L’AMOUR FOU - DEMAND IT

THE PRINCESSE DE MONTPENSIER - DEMAND IT

ALBAKIARA - DEMAND IT

NEDS - DEMAND IT

CEREMONY - DEMAND IT

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