Hope (2019) – Movie Review
12th July 2021 Written by Peter Walkden
Set one day before Christmas Eve, the film introduces Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig), who lives with her long term partner Tomas (Stellen Skarsgård). Anja and Tomas are a blended family with six children. A year ago, Anja had lung cancer which was caused by heavy smoking in the past. She had a successful operation to deal with the cancer; however, Anja is now beginning to experience bad headaches in the middle of the night. She decides to visit the doctor to get checked up before spending time with her family over the Christmas week.
Sadly for Anja, the doctors are filled with fears and bad news. After an MRI scan, it is revealed she has a significant tumour surrounded by fluid on her brain. The doctors tell her that this is incurable, and given the findings, she might only have up to three more months to live. Typically, Doctors would book Anja into more appointments with leading specialists, but given the holiday season, most offices are closed, and tumour specialists are away for the Christmas period.
Anja is given new medication that doctors hope will reduce her pain, but she is warned it has significant side effects. After beginning the treatment, Anja begins to question elements from her life, including her past and her children’s future. The relationship between her and Tomas is also put to the test as pressure, sadness, and even a widespread doubt about their romance begins to surface. Anja and Tomas agree to keep the news a secret from the family during Christmas and leading up to the New Year with hopes of a miracle until they can receive further information and support.
As you might expect from the film’s plot, Hope is a heavy drama with some nice touches of romance. Performances from the leads are tremendous, especially from Andrea Bræin Hovig, who plays the emotional and touching role of Anja.
The pacing of this film is excellent as we witness Anja and Tomas attempting to work together as a team to keep the tumour a secret. Together they continue to fight and hope that something good will come along in due time. The two encounter multiple challenges, which for the most part, are generally surprising and unexpected. By the third act, I will confess that I felt somewhat drained as even more issues and concerns were introduced by key leads. By this point, these issues almost felt more forced after everything else that was shown to audiences prior.
Overall, this is a dramatic and heavy story with a surprising touch of romance along the way. Performances are undoubtedly praiseworthy, primarily from leading actress Andrea Bræin Hovig. For the most part, the pacing is excellent as our leads encounter many hurdles and challenges, which are all generally unexpected and touching. Hope is undoubtedly a heartfelt story that is quite enjoyable, but I can’t deny that moments from the third act felt somewhat forced and draining. This film will undoubtedly evoke several emotions in its audiences, and the talent-filled movie will leave a positive and lasting impression on your heart.
Hope (2019) is Available during the Australian Scandinavian Film Festival (Dates Below*)