Aberdeen is a riveting character study beautifully directed and acted. Not only does it explore addition and family relationships but also the modern way of life. And our society in general, making us look at the way we’re living our lives from a different perspective. On top of all this, we have black humor making it easier to swallow all the hard stuff. And there’s a lot of hard stuff. Especially if you don’t like to analyze things and just improvise day after day. Characters and situations are portrayed realistically, and you have a feeling that it is all real and happening right now.
Directed by Hans Petter Moland (The Beautiful Country, A Somewhat Gentle Man), this is one of those movies that’s going to stay with you. I saw it a couple of years after it was released while visiting some relatives and it blew me away. So, as soon as I started seeing both Stellan and Lena in other movies and television shows, I immediately remembered it. In the following decades, we will see quite a few movies featuring a similar story.
People who really don’t want to be together are forced to go on a journey that will change them forever. Tell me this isn’t the plot of that boring indie comedy you had to stop watching after half an hour. What makes Aberdeen different from all of those movies are the incredibly intelligent script, strong performances and honesty. It’s just as good as any other movie coming to us from that part of the world. Festen, In A Better World, Adam’s Apples and Jagten, just to name a few.
Meet Kaisa, a successful lawyer with a slight drug problem. Her fast-paced life comes to a halt when her dying mother asks Kaisa to go to Norway. Tomas, her estranged alcoholic father lives there and her mother wants to see him one last time.
Featuring an upbeat road trip vibe, Aberdeen approaches serious issues in a casual manner. That way we’re slowly eased into this quite emotional and touching story. Stellan Skarsgård’s performance was phenomenal but Lena Headey stole the show here. Both of them had a great script to work with. A script that might hit too close to home for some of us. It’s real, visceral and it hits hard. However, the main vibe reminded me of another quirky but very intelligent road movie: Little Miss Sunshine. I still cannot understand why this movie is not more popular. It’s definitely one of the best movies exploring not only alcoholism, addiction but also family relationships.
Director: Hans Petter Moland, Tony Spataro
Writers: Hans Petter Moland, Kristin Amundsen, Lars Bill Lundholm
Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Lena Headey, Charlotte Rampling, Ian Hart, Louise Goodall, Sara-Marie Maltha
Fun Facts: At a presentation of one of his other movies, director Hans Petter Moland told the audience an interesting fact. The financiers tried to pressure him to cast Alicia Silverstone as the female lead. He refused.