Comfortable and Furious

Thelma (2017)

Synopsis: A latent lezzer with peculiar mental powers wants a girlfriend. What does it matter if her target isn’t a rug muncher?

Director: Joachim Trier

Cast: Eili Harboe, Kaya Wilkins, Henrik Rafaelsen, Ellen Dorrit Petersen

Like a fair few blokes, I shamelessly employ double standards when it comes to homosexuality. I’m none too keen on inadvertently catching gay boys kiss on screen but that doesn’t mean I’m anti-gay. Consenting adults, live and let live and all that. I don’t wish ’em any harm. And lest you forget, I’ve long championed Graham Chapman, one of the most legendary comedians of all time, although I deny routinely slipping on studded leather trousers to listen bare-chested to Rob Halford’s oft-astonishing vocals whenever I’m in the mood for a bit of 70s Judas Priest. I mean, it’s obvious that plenty of homosexual men have made a far bigger contribution than this bitter, twisted, inadequate shell of a human being could ever hope to. It’s just I don’t wanna watch them kiss and fondle each other, as modern cinema and TV apparently insists upon.

Unless they’re girls, of course.

In fact, lithe lezzers doing rude things (e.g. the 1974 British horror flick Vampyres) are always welcome. And in the Norwegian effort Thelma there’s a tryst or two to cheer. Apart from that, it’s an intriguing supernatural outing.

Thelma (Harboe) has started a biology course at university but it’s not going too well. Despite her prettiness, intelligence and sensitivity, it’s plain to see her awkwardness. This girl doesn’t fit and everything about her is brittle. Scenes with her seemingly well-adjusted, kind dad and wheelchair-bound mother reveal her religious upbringing and teetotalism. 

Things take a turn for the worse when Anja (Wilkins) sits next to her in the library, her shy glances resulting in crows smashing into the window while Thelma suffers an epileptic fit and pisses her pants on the floor. Gradually we understand Thelma has lesbian tendencies. Luckily, it appears Anja is of a similar nature, even though she’s got a boyfriend…

Thelma gets most things right from its short, memorable prologue that depicts a father pointing a loaded rifle at the head of a six-year-old girl. It’s a well-performed, gorgeously shot flick that introduces its supernatural elements with care and restraint. The awkwardness and confusion of being away from parents for the first time while trying to work out who the hell you are and what you’re about is convincingly captured. Some of its imagery is outstanding, particularly its use of serpents, a frozen lake and one of the most fucked-up fishing trips you’ll ever see.

On the face of it, the superbly directed Thelma has strong links with one of my all-time faves, Carrie, in that it mixes sexuality, loneliness, yearning, repression, telekinesis, religion, spite and the desire to control. However, its screenplay is far too smart to ape it. Indeed, Thelma has its own darkly erotic identity. Anyone who labels it a Carrie rip-off is a tool, especially the way it manages to contrast Thelma’s softly-spoken father against that mad, self-loathing harpy Margaret White. I initially thought its ending was a cutesy copout, the sort of pro-gay sentiment that filmmakers simply have to insert these days, before managing to grasp its twisted lack of compromise.

The only question for me is would I have liked it as much if its two leads were male? Hell, I wouldn’t have got through its first half hour so I guess that announces my shortcomings loud and clear.






2 responses to “Thelma (2017)”

  1. Spam Mccullough Avatar
    Spam Mccullough

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      Less spam from trolls like you. Regards, The Management

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