Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

Tribeca 2012: Certain People

The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 18th to April 29th. Jeff Hart and Jeremiah White are there and will be seeing a shitload of movies.

Partying it up!

Ever gone to a really awkward party, where everyone drinks way too much and stays way too long, and slowly the passive aggressive veneers of friends fall away to reveal bitter discord? If your answer is ‘no’ because your friends know exactly when to cut themselves off and don’t harbor secret resentments about each other, then I’d recommend Certain People as a valuable window into when parties go heinously awry.

The world’s most beautiful museum curator Katinka (Mia Mountain) and her doofy house husband Greger (Ludde Hagberg) throw what at first seems like a peaceful and pretentious birthday dinner with a number of Katinka’s upper-class bohemian friends. It takes a turn when Katina’s twin brother Joel (Fredrick Lundqvist) shows up with his girlfriend of 24 hours Linda (Yohanna Idha), igniting class resentments between the characters and generally causing everyone’s barely constrained asshole to start raging.

The success of comedy is so often tied up in delivery and timing, something that can be lost in translation when watching a foreign film. Somewhat surprisingly in that it comes from Sweden and is thus subtitled, Certain People still manages to be really funny. The writing is cutting and the actors’ delivery strong enough that the awkward moments of Certain People – and they are plentiful – manage to hit home even to ignorant international viewers like me.

The biggest issue facing Certain People is that its characters are almost universally self-involved douchebags. Everyman Greger, usually the object of ridicule by his wife’s more artsy friends, is the closest thing we have to an audience surrogate; his arc is the most satisfying and relatable. Joel and Linda are fun to watch in a train wreck sort of way, and Katinka’s coolness and beauty hide some crippling inner-darkness. Those performances make the film a pleasure to watch, although that doesn’t make these characters any less grating. That’s kind of the point. Certain People is a party I would’ve ducked out on quickly, but one I was happy to be a fly on the wall for.

VERDICT:  See it.


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1 Responses »

  1. Mia Mountain IS beautiful and also VERY talented.