To Love Someone ***1/2
Directed by Åke Sandgren
"To Love Someone" takes a familiar story-I think the exact last time I saw a film with a story like this was the Spanish film "Take My Eyes" last year-and finds a way to avoid the melodrama and really tell an effective and powerful story. It skips the cliches and ends up taking quite the unpredictable turn.
"To Love Someone" begins in the middle of the story. It starts off with Lena in the hospital. Played by the lovely Sofia Ledarp, who reminds me very very much of Lilli Taylor-seriously, there are photos on IMDB, look it up-Lena was beaten very harshly by an old boyfriend Hannes. Hannes is now getting out of jail, and Lena has moved on. She has a new boyfriend, Alf (Rolf Lassgård, who was great in "After the Wedding") and works with him in a deli that he owns. He is good to her, and her girlfriends all begin to get very protective when they learn Hannes is getting out of jail. Hannes gets out of jail, and Lena cannot help herself by end up spotting him-at the beginning she starts to yell at him for what he did, and then she begins to change, thinking that maybe she is falling back in love with him. Maybe she never fell out of love with him. And when Alf finds out her fascinating with the man that harmed her, he begins to take matters into his own hands.
The film does indeed take quite a obvious Lifetime TV story, but Sandgren makes something extremely memorable out of it. And the three main stars-Ledarp, Lassgard, and Jonas Karlsson are all very effective in their roles, especially Ledarp who never ended up overacting during scenes of heightened passion, or yelling. I was impressed by Sandgren avoiding melodrama, or turning this into some kind of soap opera. It guess that its just the mark of talented director. And the film had quite an unpredictable ending, an ending of such bittersweet irony that there was really no other way to finish it. It's a really good film and will hopefully get the chance to be seen wider.