"Copenhagen" is sure to turn some heads just based on the topic matter of a younger, much younger girl, and an older man who has not yet truly grown up. But don't let that deter you from seeing this beautiful film which captures the life and personal growth of two complex and realistic people. As William, a reluctant American citizen, travels through Germany and Copenhagen to find answers about his father's past and his own familial history, he happens upon the young Effy who for some reason, befriends him. Together they travel the local roads as well as an emotional path which enables them to discover who they are.
Set primarily in Copenhagen, this film captures the beauty of this city. With the colorful buildings set among the cobblestone streets frequented by bicycles, William (Gethin Anthony) sets out with only a letter in hand accompanied by several old photographs to find his grandfather. The letter, written in Danish, is addressed to William's paternal grandfather. We quickly learn that William and his father had "issues." William seems to need closure to his past and he is hopeful that finding his grandfather will give him just that.
William is not a likable fellow. He drives his friends away with his acerbic words. He seems hateful to others and self-loathing all at the same time. He is the representation of the most adolescent adult. The world must revolve around him and his needs and he seems completely unaware of others' feelings and emotions---that is until he meets Effy. Effy is a young, but wise beyond her years student completing a type of internship mandated by her 8th grade class. Effy and William's first meeting elicits a verbal lashing from William. Her kindness and generosity, however, overcome that anger and the two travel along together to find William's grandfather.
This journey is an emotional one. William struggles with many issues ranging from anger toward his father's abandonment to finally connecting with someone. Effy, who seems older and wiser than her years, struggles with her own issues of wanting to still be a child and unfortunately due to her family, must be an adult. Their deep connection paired with the dilemma of their age difference is constantly tugging at each of them.
"Copenhagen" explores the moral boundaries of love, attraction and age. It delves even deeper into the complexities that make us each individuals trying to be at peace within ourselves. The writing is smart, realistic, and succinct. The cinematography accentuates the emotion of the film. Pairing all of this with skilled acting and directing and the film comes to life.
The journey these two character take, strikes a chord in all of us. Watching this slice of life, this 24 hours, fulfills the need for a complete story. Both Gethin and Frederikke take these roles and flesh them out into reality. The multiple layers of each of them is extraordinarily executed. Gethin's character, completely unlikable at the start, unfolds the layers from within to explain his behavior and you find compassion for him. Frederikke's young character is the epitome of how this generation is viewed: growing up too fast.
Is this a story of an attraction between a much older man and girl? Yes. But it is so much more than that. It is a story of personal growth and acceptance. "Copenhagen's" adept skill to tell a story, develop characters that one can relate to, and pull you into the story is amazing. The complexity of the characters and the story is straight forward and poignant. Every moment, every word, and every nuance within the film is important. Rarely do you find a film that captures the essence of love, growth and reality. "Copenhagen" does just that.
Reel Honest Reviews had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Raso, writer and director of "Copenhagen." Please check back soon for an inside look into the making of "Copenhagen."