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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

A Soap
Directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen
Nimbus Film 03/06 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Not Rated

Charlotte (Trine Dyrholm) is 32 and convinced that she needs something more than she been getting from her four-year relationship with Kristian (Frank Thiel), a doctor, and so she moves into a low-rent apartment in a seedier part of town. The owner of a successful beauty salon, Charlotte soon finds that her random affairs with men are not satisfying sexually. Feelings of disappointment swarm around her and show up in the way she lives: surrounded by unpacked boxes. Outside, cherry-blossoms beckon but Charlotte is too unhappy to notice.

One day she knocks on the door of the apartment below hers and meets Ulrik (David Dencik), a transsexual who calls himself Veronica. He takes female hormones, dresses like a woman, and is awaiting a response to his petition for gender-reassignment surgery. Veronica helps Charlotte move her bed from one room to another, but their first meeting is uneventful. Nothing seems to be going right for Veronica whose mother (Elsebeth Steentoft) visits regularly but wants her son back. There is no word on the surgery procedure, and the only way Veronica can earn money is to work out of her apartment as a dominatrix. The real pleasure in his life is Miss Daisy, his adoring dog.

Charlotte and Veronica are thrown together when she saves his life after a pill overdose. She looks after Miss Daisy while he is recuperating. As a favor, Veronica decides to sew new curtains for Charlotte. The two realize that they are sexually attracted to each other but are frightened by the mystery of where that will lead.

This Danish film is structured like a soap opera, which is fitting since Veronica spends a lot of time watching them. The screenplay by Kim Fupz Aakeson even includes a male voiceover who comments on the emotional choreography of Charlotte and Veronica as they move through the various stages of their relationship. Pernille Fischer Christensen draws out two superb performances from Trine Dyrholm and David Dencik. A Soap challenges us to rethink our common notions about intimate relationships and gender.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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