Contemporary World Cinema
Director Baldvin Z’s Icelandic film Let Me Fall tackles important themes surrounding growing up with a drug addiction, but the path it takes to explore them is long and convoluted. Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir, a rising pop star in Iceland, cannot be faulted here–her performance, as someone who discovers the big gaping pit that is an existential crisis, and who seeks the familiarity of the needle, is nothing short of powerful. It’s the narrative, however, that risks losing the audience with numerous flashforwards, so that we never truly stay with the protagonist through a specific life crisis. Rather, we get a taste of all of them.
Halldórsdóttir plays Magnea who, when we first meet her, is attempting to bait pedophiles with her friends, Stella and Toni. Even then, Magnea is well versed in the art of scoring and using drugs and attending parties that would put Bang Gang’s to shame (maybe). Magnea really likes her friend, Stella, and, if it wasn’t for the jealous, abusive Toni, we might have another Blue is the Warmest Colour on our hands. Through the first hour, Magnea will grow up very quickly, and despite her four parents’ best efforts, will fall through the cracks.
Through flashforwards, we come to realize that the emaciated, limping homeless woman before us is Magnea, at some indeterminate age. This is an interesting dramatic conceit, and so is the identity of her (future) abuser, but I was not prepared for an episode of Lost, and my attempts to piece together the chronology were besides the point.
A sleeker, condensed version of this narrative, keeping certain powerful scenes (a failed movie night, the repeated times that Magnea lies to her well-intentioned father, and the interesting shots that Z. uses every now and then), would help this film pack more of a punch. Furthermore, insights into the difficulty of programs such as AA or NA for those not prone to religion, are certainly worth contemplating–but perhaps not in this film’s current iteration.
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