Films with multiple narratives are a tough business and are notoriously hard to pull off effectively. The time constraints of the commercial film medium often leave multi plot films lacking the necessary run-time to flesh out their characters enough for the audience to emotionally invest in them. However, we have seen success in films like Short Cuts (1993), Crash (2004), Love Actually (2003), and of course Pulp Fiction (1994). First time director Karin Fahlén undertook quite the project for her first film and I can happily report she succeeded in a big way with Stockholm Stories enough to rank up there with the best multi plot films of our time.
Each storyline in Stockholm Stories is interesting and as good as the next, anchored by the strong performances from a cast that seems to have been perfectly cast. It would be very hard to pick a favorite character from this film as they are all so brilliantly portrayed and wholly unique. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how unclichéd each character was. The narratives are seamlessly interwoven through superb editing, and it seldom feels contrived as the connections between the characters become more and more apparent.
Obviously with being a multi plot film, Stockholm Stories is about the connections between people. According to the director of the film, more than half of Sweden’s population lives alone. So even in these large cities we have created for ourselves, people have become so preoccupied with the routines of their own lives that they are missing out on the opportunities to make a real connection with another person, or possibly losing the ability all together. This modern concept is something that audiences around the world will be able to relate to as they see these flawed yet realistic characters struggle to balance their personal ambitions with their humanistic need to truly connect to others.
Stockholm Stories proves to be an incredibly promising debut from Karin Fahlén and it remains hard to believe this is her first feature film. It has all the feelings of a seasoned filmmaker. Fahlén has previously worked in many other areas of film production and has learned her craft through her extensive experiences on and off set. Not to mention her father was the sound designer or engineer for Ingmar Bergman, which makes for a priceless experience in and of itself just being in that environment while growing up.
With Stockholm Stories not getting as wide of release at it deserves, it is worth making an effort to try and see this movie. A bit on the darker side of the comic spectrum and right on the sweet spot of human drama, this unique and thoroughly entertaining film will surely be enjoyed by anyone who gives it a chance!
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