Fun and quirky; new foreign language film Woman At War offers us a bizarre yet brilliant comedy about climate change.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
An eccentric choir teacher by day and an eco-warrior by night, Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) is determined to stop heavy industries from ruining the natural beauty of Iceland. As she prepares for her biggest stunt yet, she receives word that her adoption request has finally been approved, and she is expected to take in her new child in a matter of weeks. Spurred on by her dreams of motherhood becoming a reality, Halla fast tracks her plans for her final stunt in the hope she can provide her child with a better future.
While it may sound rather grim and serious, Woman at War is anything but. From the moment an Icelandic brass band accompanied by a Ukranian signing troupe appears in the background and starts playing the soundtrack, it becomes clear that Benedikt Erlingsson’s film is more than a little offbeat. Sometimes the characters acknowledge the presence of the musicians and sometimes they don’t. It’s bizarre, but it works well.
What doesn’t work so well is our ability to suspend our disbelief. Woman at War is essentially a testament to the ability of one person to bring about major change, but there are moments when actions are taken way too far and in reality there would be serious repercussions.
Fortunately, Geirharðsdóttir carries the story beautifully as the self-righteous and resolute Halla, and quite frankly I could have happily watched her for the whole film without the need for the supporting actors. Her comedic timing is perfect and her turn as Halla’s twin sister is equally impressive.
The film is also beautifully shot, managing to capture the stunning landscape of Iceland without ever veering away from the core story. Erlingsson has carefully chosen magical locations that will make all long to visit Iceland, even those who have already been. Overall, it’s a simple story, but there’s enough humour and uniqueness here to make Woman at War memorable viewing.
Woman at War is available in Australian cinemas from April 4
Image courtesy of Hi Gloss Entertainment