Gone with the Woman ***
Directed by Petter Næss
My bet is that you haven't heard of Peter Naess's delightful romantic comedy "Gone with the Woman," but I'm sure in the future you will since it was the Norwegian selection for Best Foreign Film at the next Oscars. Either it will make the shortlist or not, but it should get some kind of a release. An rightfully so, as this is a very well made and very funny film about about relationships, what makes them work, what makes them not work, whose right for each other, and who isn't, and all the things in between.August had a ton of relationship films-namely Delpy's "2 Days in Paris" and Hawke's "The Hottest State," but this one is much more light and not as depressing as the latter, and funny and actually witty and not redundant like the former.
The film is about out main character, who is never given a name if I recall correctly, played by Trond Fausa Aurvaag. Aurvaag is terrific, and I gave him a rave review in my writeup for "The Bothersome Man." He has this Buster Keaton type of face-stoic and solemn at all times, but also very funny and full of real life. He is dating a girl named Marianne, played perfectly by Marian Saastad Ottesen, who kind of reminds me of Drew Barrymore. Marianne comes around way too often and talks way to much, but our hero decides to fall in love with her, and it ends up becoming a hopeless case.
Their romance is the core of the film, and it becomes a very dimensional film because at times you realize how annoying and irritating and somewhat selfish Marianne is, but then at other times she seems like the best girl in the world. You can't decide if they are perfect for one another, or its a horrible choice for them to be together. The audience is able to feel the same conflict that He does. Everything is done right here. The performances are all fantastic-including Peter Stromare (from Fargo and The Big Lebowski) as His friend from the swimming pool. There's a great bit at the end where He sees Stromare's character in a taxi cab, and at this point in the film He only saw him at the swimming pool, and there is such a nice moment of realism where He realizes that his friend actually does have a job and a life, and he isn't just someone from the gym. It's a nice touch.
And this makes two festival films in a row that involve rather over the top relationships-last nights "With Your Permission" being the other. Both of them end up being unrealistic in tone and in this case in dialogue, but both of them end up being very true to life. And they are both international. American romance films should take notes, because this is how a romantic comedy should be. Good luck at the Oscars.