Just Another Love Story

Just Another Love Story


Reviewed by: Maryam Ghorbankarimi

Just Another Love Story is not an American teen movie, as the title may suggest - in fact, it is a dark, Danish drama. The English title really does not do this film justice.

Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch), the Danish writer/director, has brought a new perspective to the classic noir plot. The film bridges between slow scenes with narration and smooth, fast-cut, CGI enhanced shots, which is how, besides being in Danish, it distinguishes itself from a slick Hollywood thriller. It is quite fluid, and right from its onset ensures that everyone is on board, up until the last 15 minutes when the narrative starts to get a little out of hand. The film starts with a close-up of the main character lying on the ground, presumably dying, with rain coming down on his face. His voice begins to narrate the story, and the film goes back to tell how he has got where he is.

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Just Another Love Story is the account of an everyman type of guy, Jonas (Anders W Berthelsen), a crime photographer who is also a likable family man with a wife and two kids. But right when he finds his life a little too ordinary, by an accident (literally - a car accident) he stumbles into someone else’s life. Julia (Rebecka Hemse), the female protagonist of the story, survives the car crash but goes into a coma. When Jonas, out of curiosity, goes to visit her in the hospital, he is mistaken for her mysterious boyfriend, Sebastian (Nikolaj Lie Kaas). At first he plays along with this misunderstanding and continues to visit her, but when Julia wakes up he actually assumes the identity of her loving boyfriend. This is only possible because Julia has lost her memory, so nothing prevents him from taking Sebastian’s place. Jonas, who believes that he has been given a chance to leave his mundane life and start anew, digs himself deep into his newly acquired fantasy life.

As the story is further developed, he becomes more and more entangled in a classic film noir plot, where the escape route gets narrower and narrower, with a few unexpected and not-so-good surprises along the way. Jonas, who is blindly enjoying his new life, misses all the clues and takes it really hard when the truth finally comes knocking on his door.

It is beautifully shot and well acted. Jonas is quite naïve with little emotional expression throughout the film, which is fairly difficult to maintain but played quite nicely. Julia, on the other hand, has a lot more chance to express her emotions but Hemse's performance at times stretches credulity, especially in the parts where she is playing blind after waking up from the coma.

Although the plot may seem simple and the premise may not seem that original, it has a lot more surprises than one can predict. It is also quite entertaining and will keep you on the edge of your seat to the last second.

Reviewed on: 01 Jul 2008
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A case of mistaken identity after a car accident turns violent and seedy.
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Director: Ole Borendal

Writer: Ole Bornedal

Starring: Anders W. Berthelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Charlotte Fich, Dejan Cukic, Ewa Fröling

Year: 2007

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Denmark


Sundance 2008
CFF 2008

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