Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

How do you feel about your life? Okay? Agnethe (Paprika Steen) does. She's a down-to-earth job restart officer, with an average family. So what if she squabbles with her teenage daughter over her dental brace, finds her lecturer husband Kristian's (Troels Lyby) desire to be a writer exasperating and locks horns with her elderly father over the fact that he won't speak to her gay brother Martin? That's normal.

Normal, that is, until dad (Ole Ernst) is diagnosed with chronic myoblastic leukaemia and given three weeks to live. He moves in and, when two month's later he seems to be making a recovery, things for the family aren't looking so rosy.

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All of which makes this sound like a terribly depressing film, which it isn't. Okay is a rich, dark comedy which finds humour and truth in the reality of everyday relationships.

Less everyday, however, is a virtually pointless secondary story, in which Martin agrees to donate sperm to a couple of his lesbian friends, only to agonise over the role he should play if they become pregnant. It soon becomes evident that this is little more than a fairly crude plot device, which detracts from, rather than adds to, the strength of the film.

The main story is briskly paced and innovative enough to engage an audience. Ernst's performance as the understated "grumpy old man" is terrific, finding humour in the spaces between the dialogue. Steen is also utterly convincing as a headstrong working mum, trying to reconcile perceived problems, yet failing to spot her own marital difficulties.

The script is the biggest star, however, exploring the minutae of a family's interaction, probing for the humanity and humour within.

Definitely more than okay.

Reviewed on: 15 Jan 2004
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Danish black comedy about family relationships.
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Director: Jesper W Nielsen

Writer: Francois Ozon, Marina de Van, Kim Fupz Aakason, based on the play by Robert Thomas

Starring: Paprika Steen, Troels Lyby, Ole Ernest, Nikolaj Kopernikus

Year: 2002

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Denmark


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