The Reel Review

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Thelma is a young Norwegian college student from an overprotective religious family. When she  discovers she’s sexually attracted to a female classmate, she also experiences another awakening – of previously unbeknownst telekinetic powers – with disastrous results, in this supernatural thriller from from co-writer/director Joachim Trier.

With nods to such genre classics as Carrie and The Fury, Thelma showcases a cleverly-constructed story, as we learn over the course of the film, and via some surprising twists, that all is not as it seems. The gorgeous Norwegian countryside and a stirring, evocative score help build a  sense of dread within the film’s seizure-prone heroine, played to perfection by Eili Harboe (The Wave), as she discovers the truth behind her past, and tries to reconcile her conflicting desires – to please her parents and also create a life for herself.

Trier, a former skateboarding champion turned filmmaker, succeeds in creating a broody, surreal, coming of age tale, loaded with symbolism and enough nice touches to make it linger with the viewer long after the credits roll.

REEL FACTS

• Like her character, Thelma, Eili Harbor also attended the University of Oslo, where she studied art history.

Thelma was Norway’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Academy Awards.

• Ellen Dorrit Petersen and Henrik Rafaelsen, who play Thelma’s parents, also portray a married couple in the 2014 film Blind.

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