Title: Becoming Astrid
Director: Pernille Fischer Christensen
Starring: Alba August, Maria Bonnevie, Trine Dyrholm
Runtime: 2 hrs 3 mins
What It Is: Young Astrid Lindgren (August), world-renowned children’s author (Pippa Longstocking), is thrust into adulthood by an unplanned pregnancy. She struggles with the relationships between her and her family, her baby’s father, and her son.
What We Think: So this shares an unnerving situation too many of us are familiar with: being taken advantage of by someone older and presumably wiser who shakes the very foundation that we know. The film cleverly begins with present-day Astrid receiving an audio tape from a class of schoolchildren who are curious about how she is so in tune with what it means to be a child. It then brings the audience back to her formative years where Astrid is so imaginative and carefree, yet curious and bold. Astrid then tackles the scary and overwhelming transition from teen to womanhood to motherhood without much time to sort it out. Even with the relationship between her other male figures in her life, this piece is very much female driven. This film is less about what Astrid can do with the cards she’s been dealt and more about what Astrid can just do. There isn’t a moment where a choice Astrid makes isn’t wholly and completely hers. Danish-Swedish actress Alba August brings young Astrid to life on film. August gives a remarkable performance of a young girl having to change her way of thinking in order to maintain control of her life. Pain is reacted to as pain when there is pain present. Sadness is reacted to as sadness when there is sadness. Liberation is reacted to as liberation in moments of liberation. There isn’t any masking or pretending. Astrid is let to feel during these years of her life. Through that, she manages to defy all odds, creating peace and happiness for herself just as she set out to do.
Our Grade: A+, Rightfully so, this has received three official selections so far in 2018. The cinematography is captivating and the way emotion is captured is felt through the screen. Acclaimed Danish director Pernille Fischer Christensen takes this period piece and makes it feel modern. She creates a path for viewers in this day and age to feel connected to Astrid, whether or not they grew up as farm girls too.