Thelma, directed by Norwegian Joachem Trier (Louder than Bombs from 2012 played at the Bookshelf), was just one of a number of great Scandinavian movies we saw at TIFF this year. You may already have seen The Square (currently screening at the Bookshelf). If not, you must; it is uproarious. You Disappear, The Other Side of Hope, Ravens & What will People Say, are others you should watch for.
On its surface, Thelma is a straightforward coming-of-age story. The title character is a young woman from a small farm with a controlling, religious father, experiencing her first year at university and the freedom and exciting opportunities that life offers. But all is not well. Thelma begins to suffer seizures and a series of mysterious events ensue. It appears that she may have some extraordinary powers. Are they real or only in the mind? And if so, whose mind? More importantly, her new experiences threaten the moral values upon which she was raised and to which her father continues to adhere.
So skillfully are the metaphors of the horror genre melded to the situational realities that the former never seem forced or bizarre, but rather inform a Freudian journey into the father-daughter relationship. Thelma plays at The Bookshelf Cinema from Dec 8 to 12.