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Becoming Astrid

Before Astrid Lindgren became the most famous children‘s author in the world, she spent many tough years as a working mother of an illegitimate child.

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You don‘t see Astrid Lindgren write a single line of her famous children‘s books in ASTRID, yet Pernille Fischer Christensen‘s moving film transmits the idea of how the writer and her stories are connected. In the beginning of the film Astrid (a fantastic Alba August) is a village teen who is disrespectful in church and filled with an adventurous spirit. In the end she‘s a young career woman in the city who has made her own decisions. Just a few years older but filled with an entire life‘s worth of experience. Her journey begins when Reinhold Blomberg (Henrik Rafaelsen), the chief editor of the small town Vimmersby paper, hires the bright girl as an assistant. Astrid soon writes her own articles and her and Blomberg, who is in the middle of a divorce to his second wife and has kids, start to have an affair. Astrid gets pregnant, and because something like this can‘t happen in the small Protestant community, she flees to the city where she goes to secretary school and secretly gives birth to a son. Without the father of her child and any money she has no choice but to give Lars to a Danish foster mother. For many years Astrid only sees her son at long intervals while she waits for Blomberg‘s divorce to finalize. Fischer Christensen takes her time during these formative years, shows the home Astrid lives in and the people she befriends, the visits to a child who becomes more and more of a stranger, and the slow disenchantment with her love and her future as a stepmother to seven children. What would normally be the prologue of a long life with many twists and turns in other biopics is at the center here – and it‘s enough for the director to lay a trail from the lonely decisions and tough experiences in those years to the children‘s books wherein strong children go their own path alone, where carefree games and good friends coexist with great grief and irreperable loss.

Toni Ohms

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: Unga Astrid
Schweden 2018, 123 min
Language: Swedish, Danish
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Pernille Fischer Christensen
Author: Kim Fupz Aakeson, Pernille Fischer Christensen
DOP: Erik Molberg Hansen
Music: Volker Bertelmann
Distributor: DCM
Cast: Trine Dyrholm, Alba August, Maria Bonnevie, Björn Gustafsson, Magnus Krepper
FSK: 6
Release: 06.12.2018

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