Review: Becoming Astrid – Unga Astrid (2018)

Becoming Astrid – Unga Astrid (2018)

Directed by: Pernille Fischer Christensen | 123 minutes | drama, biography | Actors: Alba August, Trine Dyrholm, Maria Bonnevie, Björn Gustafsson, Magnus Krepper, Henrik Rafaelsen, Eric Ericson, Ola Normelli, Maria Fahl Vikander, Casper Kjær Jensen, Lars Väringer, Liv LeMoyne, Maria Alm Norell, Sofia Karemyr, Mira Mitchell, Marius Damslev, Willy Ramnek Petri

‘Becoming Astrid’ is a well-crafted costume drama, in which the early years of writer Astrid Lindgren in Sweden are discussed. It is a Christian youth, with the necessary warning about Sodom and Gomorrah. Teenager Astrid (Alba August/no more Pippi) is a critical spirit, who easily perceives the gospel as hypocritical. And the adults of the twenties don’t like that of course. It does not appear very dramatic, because it is not loveless in the large farming family Ericsson, Lindgren’s maiden name.

For example, Vader (Magnus Krepper) is not unreceptive to the young Astrid’s writing aspirations. The charming teenager gets an internship at the local duffer, a newspaper as family and highly closed as this farmer’s daughter initially. The music gets a little more exciting when Astrid tries to type for the first time. The film, meanwhile, remains as authentic as it is light-hearted – sparkling historical drama. Director Pernille Fischer Christensen is well aware that you should not drive the viewer through the fences of the action like cattle.

Newspaperman Blomberg (Henrik Rafaelsen) confides in Astrid about his family problems, and that is also credible, because the girl can handle it and Blomberg is in good faith. Astrid was soon allowed to write articles herself, to ‘interest the female readers’. The teenager’s pigtails are quickly exchanged for a smooth young lady’s haircut, with associated consequences. Of course, in the end no one is disinterested – not even Blomberg, and Astrid’s life is gaining momentum. The drama therefore retains both tempo and depth, and that is due to the spry August, a sympathetic anchor point.

‘Becoming Astrid’ continues to be made accessible and skillful, like BBC television drama. It could perhaps have sanded a little more, for example because I play too-aspects that are walked over, but the film has already built up sufficient credit with the viewer, who will certainly be smoothly carried away by the pierement of the certainly not painless women’s life, with Tryne Dyrholm (“Kollektivet”) as the foster mother for Astrid’s illegitimate son. We take for granted that Lindgren’s writing continues to play second fiddle in this biopic.

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