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With warm humor and lovingly portrayed characters who grow and develop from their stereotypical shell, Lisa Langseth manages to make a fun but at the same time serious, original work and it is liberating in the Swedish film industry where most of the films are detective stories, slapstick's or comedies.
There is an evocative darkness relieving the more hilarious situations. Langseth takes its characters seriously and chooses no easy solutions to their problems. They are charming and often funny, yet tragic, broken souls on a desperate search for answers to impossible questions. It may be considered pretentious and the resolution is a bit obvious but the director and the actor's stubborn beliefs makes the story pull through.
David Dencik is ridiculously good as an Indian-loving oddball with a mother complex. He is impressively honest and naked (even literally) and transforms what could become the gang's geek to an exciting underdog The other actors are able to breathe life into their characters, including Simon J. Berger in his few scenes as the boyfriend.
So she goes into a deep depression, after a while trying to solve it with group therapy. She's wealthy, she invites the group and herself to a hotel and there, things start moving. The bullied girl, the woman who loathes her body, the man who was abused by his mother.
It's a strong drama. Calling it being lighted up by some humor almost on the slapstick level, is a false expression. But it's interesting with movies, where you hardly can tell whether it's a comedy or the opposite.
Over-all a good plot, good performances and a very unique film. Alicia Vikander impressed me yet again. What a great actress she is.
Give this one a chance, I know I'm glad I did.
The idea of assuming a new identity and erase the past after a crisis happening in life is not new. One can easily recall Edward Norton giving up his old monotonous life to participate in Project Mayhem in Fight Club, Jim Carey and Kate Winslet paying to have their memories erased in The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and Old Boy's Oh Dae-su asking for the help of a hypnotist to forget his guilty present and past. A new identity has in any case to do with deleting past and constructing a clean present but in the case of Erika (Alicia Vikander) things are not so clear-cut because the point of her past that she wants to forget about is her own new born child. Erika was leading a life that appeared to be perfect: she had a committed husband, a successful job, money and most importantly she was expecting to be a mother. She was spending her time in fancy parties with her colleagues and when she was at home she was taking care of the room of her upcoming baby. Everything had to be flawless: the cradle, the decoration, the teddy bears. But because of a complication her pregnancy was disrupted and she gave birth to a child who is brain damaged. Now she has to face reality but she is not ready to do it. For the first time in her life she has to run away. And the world that she knew and lived in for so long will collide with a new one.
After refusing to see her own son and negotiating the problematic situation with her husband she is assigned to participate into a group therapy that would help her to handle the new state of things. The other members of her group seem to be also disoriented and the treatment doesn't help. While talking to each other they spontaneously come up with the idea of going to a hotel and start developing and acting in accordance with a new personality that they would choose for themselves. Hotell seems to follow the structure of a psychotherapy treatment. Erika has to pass through all of these stages that will lead her to reconciliation and catharsis but this process is not an easy one. Checking out from one hotel only to check in in another one, the rooms seem to take the shape of precisely these stages until the time for the inevitable reality check arises. What is she going to do when that happens?
Confusion and fear are always apparent in Erika's face and body. While everyone of her friends seems to find a way to feel better through this weird hotel tour that they are having she remains detached having only some brief moments of tenderness lighting up her mood. Her detachment becomes even stronger because of Langseth's choice to deny the spectator any glimpse of what is going on inside the heroine's head. There are no voice-overs to help us understand what she is thinking and no subjective shots showing how she feels. The tension of her inner world is illustrated by the rough editing of the film but that is not adequate to give any clues about Erika's plans.
This denial for a pass into the heroine's thoughts is perfectly supported by Alicia Vikander's solid and structured acting which is contrasted with the personalities of her four friends . All of them are true misfits and their goofy behavior seems to make the whole atmosphere of the film more light-hearted and funny, balancing the emotional dead end of Erika. Their weirdo way of acting is becoming so exaggerated at some points of the film that it highlights their poor character development that often makes them look one dimensional. Especially in the case of the introvert Ann-Sofi, whose elvish voice haunts the opening and the ending of the film, the need for a more generous depiction of her personality became more than apparent.
Hotell succeeds in telling the story of a traumatized woman by focusing on her and not on the events that happened or may happen around her. Her actions and reactions become landmarks of a process which seems to be more important than the outcome that it is going to produce and Erika's improvised self-psychotherapy leads to an unexpected catharsis whose starting point seem to overlap with an ending and vice versa.
or even one sweat-drop, that when she goes back and its dark she remember the way to the hotel and walks about a couple of minutes... Not the real word - this film has lots lots of unrealistic moments- the funniest thing is the second one hotel- when they get to him he lays on the sideless, and some evening when the girl look through window she sees a few high bulding outside- what a heterogeneous
The film could be a drama like any other: some problematic people come together trying to cope with their fears and traumas. And yeah, they are being able to help each other, BUT it has a goal point here: Erika! She is suffering a lot and she's carrying some heavy feelings, effects of her trauma, BUT she doesn't let it show. We follow Erika's point of view and we can barely feel her soul. Of course part of the job is coming from Alicia's performance, but the really well written script is also something to add up.
From the beginning of the movie till the end, we keep waiting to see WHY Erika is the only one not being healed, after all she's the one that got the idea, and she's the one funding everything. We want to see this group therapy having some effect on her, but it doesn't. So she needs more than that, she needs "the drop in a cup full of water". And she gets it.
So the movie is about life and how we all repress our feelings, every time. The movie is about let it out and don't mind what people thinking about us. This movie is about the human being in its greatness.