Susanne Bier’s “Elsker dig for Evigt” [Eng. Title: Open Hearts] is an interesting study of love and relationships, and how they could be influenced or complicated by other feelings such as guilt. It is a terrific piece of drama, made even powerful by some convincing performances by all the sparse but impressive cast.
Cecille and Joachim are about to get married – they’d been living together for a while, and are truly in love. But their world is turned upside down when Joachim has a nasty accident that leaves him paralysed neck-down. By sheer coincidence, Niels (well played by Mads Mikkelsen), a doctor at the hospital where Joachim is recovering, also happens to be the husband of Marie (also well played by Paprika Steen) – the driver of the car that caused the accident. A remorseful Marie and Niel feel it’s their duty to console the devastated Cecille – Marie even encouraging Niels to meet and talk to Cecille whenever she felt depressed (which is often), because Joachim refuses to see Cecille and wants to break the engagement so that she could move on and start a new life. These meetings instead lead to a full-blown affair between Niels and Cecille, complicating things further for everyone.
The screenplay and characterisation are excellent, and the cast give a commendable performance, including the actress playing Cecille, Sonja Richter. The soundtrack is appealing, but I’m however not sure about the cinematography – doesn’t help that some scenes are too grainy in my DVD. That may well have been the director’s intention, but I doubt if it was really necessary. This is also classified as a Dogme 95 film, but having seen only a handful of films adhering to this movement and my own mixed feelings towards it, I shall refrain from discussing it for the moment, but those wanting to know more may check out this Wiki link. The DVD extras and commentary from Susanne Bier give us an insight into the director’s thinking, and also the reasons for removing some of the scenes – which I completely agree with. Either way, the final cut of “Elsker dig for Evigt” is a great piece of drama, with an apt ending, and therefore, Recommended Viewing.
Amazon DVD Link (excellent deal going)