just as the New Yorker article (Denby) pointed out, a non-linear narrative in a film does not automatically make it good. here i think it actually hindered a fuller understanding of her life. a performance that is better than the biopic which suffers from all the usual drawbacks such as significant periods completely ignored. the final musical scene is a tad too triumphant for my taste much like the 9th symphony scene in _Immortal Beloved_. one does get caught up in the moment but it rarely lingers unlike in _Veronika Voss_ or _Ikiru_.
this is probably one of those polarising films that elicits very different reactions depending on how much you empathize with the characters. as for me, i fondly recognised these people on a far-away Swedish commune in the 1970's from a much more idealistic time in life. the children were some of my favourite characters and their scenes were so seamlessly honest. the deduction comes mainly from an all too neat ending that short-changes the wonderful messiness up to that point. (in contrast to the extremely bleak ending in another great Moodysson film, _Lilya 4-ever_) nevertheless, it still left me wanting to play soccer in the snow with ABBA blaring.
do not be deterred by the length necessary to convey this Kafkaesque (yes i know, overused) experience: the rotting bureaucratic health-care system, the absurdity of signing that form, the imperceptible descent into misery. this film can certainly be grouped with the Dogme school stylistically (though i do not know if it adheres to all the doctrines). the continuous shots, the bleak environs, and the lack of music all underscore the insurmountable inhumanity and indifference. this is a film that does not allow you to look away.