Britt-Marie Was Here directed by Tuva Novotny tracks the life of Britt-Marie (Pernilla August) a 63-year-old housewife faced with the choice of leaving her unfaithful husband for a job as a Little League soccer coach. Endearing and heartwarming, based off of an original novel titled A Man Called Ove, the film stands out as an incredibly relatable story about the steps a woman must take to find her freedom. (MTP: 4.5/5)
Review by FF2 Intern Maiya Pascouche
Britt-Marie cleans. Britt-Marie cooks. For her husband, Kent (Peter Haber). She goes grocery shopping, does the laundry, and does not understand her husband’s deep love for soccer. It’s not until Kent has a heart attack that Britt-Marie meets his mistress in the hospital and she decides it’s time to leave her mundane life and find a job, and at the same time, her freedom.
The only job available for a woman who hasn’t worked in 40 years just so happens to be the position of soccer coach for a children’s team in a rural town far away from home. Perfect. Britt-Marie heads straight there but struggles to connect to the kids she must coach. With the help of a cop (Anders Mosslin), store owner (Mahmut Suvaki), and the legally-blind daughter (Malin Lebanon) of the previous, deceased coach, Britt-Marie slowly builds a connection with the children and with her own strength.
Director Novotny highlights the depth of Britt-Marie and all secondary characters by depicting their development throughout the story and the challenges they face to succeed. Britt-Marie’s daily routines gradually change as she does, and the children warm up to her as their coach and begin to trust her. These slight variations bring the audience into the story and make it incredibly easy to care deeply about these characters.
Another positive element is the diversity in the film. Britt-Marie comes from a predominantly white, upper middle class life and is thrown into a town filled with people of all different backgrounds. Those differences are what make the story compelling, heartwarming, and beautiful. As I viewer, I am not only rooting for Britt-Marie but for the children, families, and community as well.
Britt-Marie Was Here is not pushing the form of film or challenging our notions of storytelling. However, it grounds us in a story that we can all relate to and reminds us that we are all capable of finding our own happiness when we step outside of our comfort zone. It is a story of hope, love, and acceptance and frankly, in today’s world, it is a film we all need.
Q; Does it pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?
A: Yes!! There are many moments between Britt-Marie and Vega (Stella Oyoko Bengtsson).