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Top Customer Reviews
Having lived in Norway at one time in my life, I had a strong desire to see this when it turned up at last year's Cork (Ireland) International Film Festival. I try not to miss Scandinavian films when they're on, anyway, but the blurb sounded good, and so I went.
Scandinavian humour is known for being quite black, actually, and is sometimes hard to swallow. There are those who find British humour incomprehensible; they would find Scandinavian humour insurmountable. That is, until they see this film... (You know things will be good when you're laughing hysterically within the first five or ten minutes.)
The story begins with a group of Swedish researchers, who are sent to the cold and frozen wilderness of Norway to observe the daily habits of middle-aged Norwegian bachelors. The premise for this visit is that the researchers are attempting to redesign kitchens for the usage of such characters; the observations will facilitate a more user-friendly remodelling. It isn't too long after the introduction of the 'suits' that the viewer will be rolling on the floor in laughter. This comes about firstly by the inclusion of a bit of rather humorous history: once upon a not-so-long ago, the Swedes drove on the left, and the Norwegians (as they always had done) drove on the right. Consequently, the team of Swedish researchers, fresh from their border crossing into Norway, must suddenly avoid a near head-on collision, which leaves them discombobulated. Viewers familiar with the way the Swedish and the Norwegians are constantly jibing one another will immediately recognise the joke played on a certain group of meatball-lovers!
It only gets better.Read more ›
It`s the 1950`s and a group of Swedish researchers have descended on Norway to study "the kitchen habits of the single male," a truly pressing concern if ever there was one. The project involves setting up an "observer" in a volunteer's kitchen in order to watch and record the subject`s every move, leading, hopefully, to kitchen designs that will prove more fruitful and productive for the average citizen. The proviso is that there is to be no fraternizing whatsoever between the two parties, otherwise the "objective" nature of the experiment will be ruined. This is truly life as lived under a microscope, and the question early on becomes who will be the first to "crack" under the pressure of this totally unnatural state of affairs, the observer or the observed. And just how meaningful and reliable could information gleaned from such a contrived, unnatural setup be anyway? Given the complexity of human nature, how much can such a study truly tell us about ourselves and what we're really like?Read more ›
Isak is the farmer in question, a cagey old man who mistakenly volunteers for a 1950s Swedish study of home efficiency. Having already "improved" the domestic efficiency of Scandinavian housewives, the nutty professors of the Swedish Home Research Institute set out to bestow a similar blessing on Norwegian bachelors. Isak is thus assigned to be observed by one Folke, himself a bachelor and a strict pupil of the official methods of the Institute's director.
While an early clash of wills between the observer and the observee set the stage for the film (and offer the early comedic bits and the film's few real laughs) what follows is the real story, a tale of human need that reaches out past conventions, artifice and rules of engagement. Isak slowly overcomes his resentment and obstructionist bent, while Folke's pointless fastidiousness simultaneously unravels. The result is what The Odd Couple might have been had Neil Simon decided to forego the slapstick.
Four subplots underpin the story without distracting from it. Isak's horse, a metaphor for the old man himself, is dying. Grant, Isak's heretofore best friend, is, literally, left out in the cold.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very enjoyable movie. Delightful and humorous character development. Then a very sweet story of friendship.Published 1 month ago by Richard G.
This movie is a wonderful portrayal of an unlikely friendship between a Swedish observer and his surly Norwegian host. It's heart-warming, funny, and emotional.Published 4 months ago by Student
Droll Scandinavian humor that I find quite funny. A must watch if you are or live with a Norwegian!Published 8 months ago by Aamot
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