By Lauren Hunter
In an age where action-packed blockbusters are competing for your attention with the biggest car chases, special effects and fight sequences, a gentle story about the old and young coming together to find friendship hardly seems the most obvious choice to be queuing up at the cinema for, right?
But there’s just something about Miss Viborg – which had its UK premiere at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival and was nominated for its Audience Award – that twinkles with charm, heart, and an unexpected sucker-punch ending that leaves you reaching for the tissues.
The film, which is Dutch but subtitled in English, follows 61-year-old Solvej (Ragnhild Kaasgaard), a feisty but lonely woman who has the unconventional side hustle of selling prescription drugs to those in her community, while travelling on her mobility scooter. Her neighbour is 17-year-old Kate (Isabella Moller Hansen), who has fallen on the wrong side of the tracks and is desperate to have more from life than what small town suburbia can offer her. The pair eventually strike up an unlikely friendship – one that will send them on their greatest adventure but ultimately show them that the most precious things are those which are already in front of you.
That all sounds quite heavy and philosophical, but let it not be lost that this film has really put effort into its comedic value, with its greatest strengths being its hilarious reflections on mundane life and the generational differences between young and old. It’s the dry and often sarcastic humour which makes you warm to the characters as something more than a fiction being played out on screen – they’re alive and vibrant. You can imagine living next door to them too. So, when the mascara begins to run by the end, it’s happening because you feel like you’ve been on a journey with Solvej and Kate. Ultimately this is a film about love, loss, friendship, and women seeing their beauty for more than what’s on the surface – timely given its premiere at GFF close to International Women’s Day. When the movies (and the world) just now seems so bold, brash and overwhelming, Miss Viborg is the perfect tonic we need to give us hope.