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Elsker dig for evigt (Open Hearts) Reviews

Page 1 of 9
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

August 19, 2012
Well, being a married woman I found this film very disheartening. What exactly was the point of all that heartache? I guess I would have preferred to have a storyline with some resolution somewhere. The end of this film was just ungratifying. No wrapping up of loose ends. Everyone was just ruined at the end, and she just drifted away aimlessly. On top of that, it was 2 hrs of watching her go back and forth between men. Not exactly exciting. This is the kind of slow, artsy type of film that critics love to love. Me not always so much...
Rubia

Super Reviewer

January 15, 2011
Late influence of Dogma 95.

The Dogma certification in the opening credits had a strange effect on me, as going against the movement itself. Dogma 95 manifesto is very interesting, but it's reflection on contemporary cinema and on film as art and not illusion are not new (Italian neo-realism, cinéma vérité) as it's not only avoiding technical manipulations that we will be able to reach the "naked cinema". Most background music are definitely an artifice to manipulate spectator - I won't mention visual effects, let's keep it simple - but in the same way we can find truth beyond technique, we can be duped by so-called reality (how true can a documentary be?).

"Elsker dig for evigt" can follow almost every rule of the manifesto, but it is still a fiction that will "work" on our emotional as any other film would. When "Le scaphandre et le papillon" and "Mar Adentro" focus more on the patient's vision, "Elsker dig for evigt" focus on how the paralysis affects other's life, on Cecilie's journey through her pain.
Pay attention on the opening scene, final credits and song that goes together: "lighting is not acceptable, optical work and filters are forbidden". Was that supposed to work as a contradiction to reality or they are just there? "Music must not be used unless it occurs within the scene being filmed". And the song that plays when Cecile is sleeping in the hospital with Nikolaj, for example?

If "reality" is one of its strong points - in lot of scenes, the lack of "superficial" acting let it more superficial as iit'd be in a play - "reality" had been better explored by names as Andy Warhol (Eat, Sleep, Kiss, etc ), John Cassavetes and Abbas Kiarostami, just to mention some, no matter if they shot in digital video or on film or if they used or not well-known technical devices.


Luke B

Super Reviewer

June 26, 2008
The best of the Dogme films I have seen. The film makes great use of the digital camera work and natural lighting really enthusing the film with a realistic quality rarely seen. It's similar to 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in its unflinching portrayal of a difficult subject in the most restrained manner. The emotions the film evokes and portrays are truly astounding. Mikkelsen gives one of the rgeatest performances I've ever witnessed. His confused doctor has trouble expressing himself with words but it's in the slightest flickering of eye movements that we can really see inside his soul. Open Hearts also has no fear in displaying conflicting tones. Where we see Joachim trying to read after being paralysed, not only is the scene sad and aggravating it is also bravely comic. Lie Kass also gives a very moving portrayal, even when acting like a bastard we never forget what he is dealing with but the film is never so arrogant as to assume how he feels. It's brave, complicated and a true portrayal of love and life and things not always working out the way you planned them.
Mark A

Super Reviewer

December 18, 2008
Lives are changed in an instant when a doctor's wife, Marie (Paprika Steen), accidentally runs down Joachim (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and he winds up quadraplegic. Marie's husband, Niels (Mads Mikkelson), offers comfort to Joachim's fiance, Cecile (Sonja Richter), which becomes something more than aid and comfort. A lot of raw emotions are on display here as Joachim at first pushes everyone away. By the time he comes to terms with his injury, Cecile has moved on, although unable to admit it to herself. Excellent production that pulled no punches. No one escapes unscathed. Each of these four people, plus Niels' and Marie's teenage daughter, Stine (Stine Bjerregaard), who blames herself for the accident, are put through the ringer and come out the other side forever changed but somehow equipped to go on. All of the various parts are rearranged but functional. A wholly believable tale, competent actors, and interesting camera work on a film from the Dogme school and directed by Susanne Bier. This viewer found it impossible to watch without empathy for each of the characters' torments.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

March 15, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]"Open Hearts" starts out with Cecilie(Sonja Richter) and Joachim(Nikolaj Lie Kaas) being madly in love with each other and just engaged to be married. But their bliss is interrupted when Joachim is hit by a car driven by Marie(Paprika Steen) and he is paralyzed from the neck down. After he is informed of his condition, Joachim is bitter and seeks to push Cecilie away. She in turn seeks solace with Marie's husband, Niels(Mads Mikkelsen), who is a doctor at the same hospital.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Open Hearts" is a powerful movie about some very flawed characters behaving in believable ways. There is not a false note in the entire film as it deftly avoids any traps it could have fallen into. My only problem is that we never see any of Cecilie's friends and she does seem rather isolated for a young woman.[/font]
mvieaddict
mvieaddict

Super Reviewer

May 5, 2009
I loved the story. It's beautiful, touching, human and above all it's real. The characters are real human beings who need love and comfort and attention and someone who listens to them, take care of them, or just hold them? All the actors delivered excellent performances.

The script, as usual, is the key here. also the dialog that has kept the movie interesting. The people come off as humans engaged in the difficult situations of life. Cecillia for seducing a married man in order to feel wanted, and Niels for caving to his mid life urges at the cost of his family.
I was not used to dogma movies, but this one seems to work for me.
July 30, 2007
with mads and nikolaj in the film, it was decent. if any other actors did it, it would collapse due to odd dialogue and plotline. They are very good actors, i suggest watching green butchers to see a better performance from these two.
February 12, 2009
Really great. The characters were well developed and there was some really great acting. But I didn't like Mads Mikkelsen's character's choice.
July 21, 2013
My God was this film painful. I was literally crying at the end. It was beautiful and the acting...ugh I just...Mads Mikkelsen is wonderful and definitely in my top 5 favorite actors, but I think this might be in the top 2 movies I've seen him do. It was such an emotional and raw experience as a viewer and I love Dogme films anyway, but this is up there in that category as well. 10/10 flawless film.
lasttimeisaw
June 25, 2013
Dogme movement (1995-2005) is a terra incognita for me, although now it has officially existed only as a terminology thanks to the ubiquitous evasion of shooting on location with any cellphones or other handheld lighter gizmos, and its spirit has been ingested by more advanced mutants (e.g. mumblecore). But Susanne Bier is not merely a Dogme enthusiast, AFTER THE WEDDING (2006 7/10) is a redoubtable relationship dissection and OPEN HEARTS (the new Hannibal Mads Mikkelsen star in both films) treads the same territory to examine the complexity of humans' conundrum between desire and responsibility, ethics and emotions.

Two couples, one is engaged, another has 3 children, a car accident (not entirely abides by the Dogme rules though) turns their worlds upside down, a threat is common-or-garden both in the cinematic and real world; the life-changing mishap prompts an adultery between a middle class doctor and the disheartened fiancée, whose fiancé undergoes a permanent quadriplegia from the car accident where the doctor's wife is the offender.

The face-fixated close-ups extensively put those characters under scrutiny for their rational and irrational behaviors, natural light commingles with saturated palette (during the beginning and the ending) and a black & white lens of the blurry and grainy illusory fancy. The cast is sterling, a quartet of tug-of-war from Mikkelsen, Richter, Lie Kass and Steen, a humdrum-weary family man holds his seven-year-itch infatuation to a damsel-in-distress; a comfort-seeker with abiding guilt of abandoning her bed-ridden fiancé; a young paralyzer who ruthlessly deserts his fiancée for his incompetence as a proper man but still hankers for her company; a wife is rueful of her road rage and its tragic repercussions, suddenly devastated by her husband's utter betrayal; Steen's impromptu slapping and Mikkelsen's reaction are among the best on-screen intensified scenes I have even seen, three of the four leads end up in my yearly top 10 list (guess who narrowly missed the spot?).

But on the other hand, the melodramatic core of the story hobbles a soul-searching catharsis and empathetic introspection which would put the film onto an upper notch, Bier and DP Morten Søborg's camera is erratic but not dizzily shaky, the fly-on-the-wall intimacy allows us to take a much closer look at the symptoms and the cause of the frailty resides in every soul on earth, and offers us staying in a paralleled world, munches with palliative pills to ease our own troubles.
May 28, 2013
raw and painfully honest. a movie that's gonna stuck in your head for a day or two. also the first dogma movie i've ever seen
Madmartigan
May 15, 2013
Definitely worth a watch. Difficult to watch at times. Tragic and practical.
January 23, 2013
In an American setting, with crystal clear visuals and violins that set in on cue this would lose much of its appeal. By that I mean that the story on display is melodrama, soap opera, the dirty nooks 'n crannies of love and emotion held under a microscope. What makes it work is the honest portrayal and chemistry of all the actors involved and their layered story lines. Nobody's innocent, nobody's truly guilty. Open Hearts is honest, though some might not be willing to face the truth it wants to share.
January 6, 2013
One of the best films I have seen.

The performance of Mikkelsen and Steen is splendid. Richer comes far behind, but fortunately her role is to be uncertain.

The whole thing is a masterpiece: Niels falls in love with Cecilie, even though he has a steady relationship with Marie, a family with kids. But he cannot resist, so he leaves. Such is life: the accident and the chain of events lead in situations like this. In normal life, the accident is just a person appearing somehow, somewhere... needing love just like Cecilie and Niels. And the past is left behind.

Then something often breaks the whole new love story, if nothing else the inner struggle with moral and ethics. Cecilie has to think over things, and Niels, already left from home, suddenly is left alone. And the things end up like this, like in normal life: you do not necessarily win when leaving everything behind without thinking, more probably you will loose...

Cecilie will most probabaly not stay with a man who is paralyzed - I bet she would not. But most probably she will not stay with Niels either... so tragic it is, one broken family, one man - Niels - living in uncertaintly, one woman seeking solutions but most probably not finding them in her old or the most recent relationship, but just later on, maybe in some years later...

But this is how it ends, leaving us thinking if Joachim and Cecilie will continue finally, or if Niels will end up with Cecilie, or if Cecilie just disappears... and Niels is left with his divorced feelings? Later life will give people who live this kind of things through some answers, but before one has to accept anguish and uncertainty.
October 12, 2012
Fabulous!, not to be missed!
August 27, 2012
No tricks. No hype. No money. Just skillful storytelling and incredible performances. Heartbreaking.
January 14, 2012
Danish cinema, indeed it rules!
August 9, 2011
Is Bier capable of making a bad movie?
August 1, 2011
En lo personal no me gustó la historia pero es una buena película.
March 22, 2011
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