• James Rutherford

'Thelma': A Moody and Exquisite Supernatural Drama-Thriller from Norway


Movie poster for the Norwegian film Thelma starring Eili Harboe and Kaya Wilkins

Thelma (2017) is a unique and altogether superb supernatural drama-thriller starring Eili Harboe as the titular protagonist, a lonely young woman raised by deeply religious parents in rural Norway. Upon arriving to university in Oslo, the socially withdrawn Thelma struggles to connect with her fellow students, and soon finds herself beset by a series of inexplicable epileptic seizures. Frustrated and vulnerable, Thelma eventually manages to forge a friendship with a female student named Anja (Kaya Wilkins)—an alluring beauty who ignites long-repressed feelings of passion within Thelma's heart. During a diagnostic brain imaging test, intended to pinpoint the source of the seizures, Thelma finds herself fantasizing about Anja—inadvertently causing Anja to instantly disappear entirely from reality. Anja's fate along with Thelma's burgeoning recognition of her long-dormant psychokinetic powers quickly combine to become the basis for a tantalizing tale of revelation and self-discovery. Co-written and directed by Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier (Reprise, Louder Than Bombs), Thelma is a highly absorbing and utterly ravishing tale of liberation and self-actualization. To wit, Trier has crafted a bold and evocative vehicle of female empowerment, with young Harboe perfectly embodying her character's apprehension and eventual rejuvenation. A potent metaphysical drama enfolded within a highly impassioned love story, "Thelma" ultimately serves as one of the finest LGBTQ films of the entire decade.

 

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