With a title evocative of a gauzy camera ad, Everlasting Moments is a tastefully framed period story of a working-class woman’s struggle for self-fulfillment through art; the modest narrative, though fitfully melodramatic, announces its aspiration to epic seriousness with every burnished and carefully dressed scene. In a Swedish port town of a century ago, Finnish-born and regularly pregnant Maria Larsson (Maria Heiskanen) cleans aristocrats’ homes and labors at a sewing machine to supplement the unsteady income of drunken, abusive husband Sigfrid (Mikael Persbrandt), a dockworker with a halfhearted commitment to anarchism and a stronger one to womanizing. Looking to pawn a long-neglected camera, Maria instead is encouraged by a gentle, older commercial photographer (Jesper Christensen) to transform her daily experience by taking pictures, and she inevitably becomes an instinctive chronicler of street life, forlorn children, and family tragedy, to the increasing resentment of her boorish spouse. Jan Troell, whose backseat to Bergman as his nation’s “1A” director rests heavily on two international hits made four decades ago, is trying for an intimate drama that champions the egalitarian creative instinct, but despite the unsettled yearning with which Heiskanen infuses Maria, the riddle of her decision to stay in her trying marriage is more frustrating than enigmatic, her children (including the narrating daughter) are a two-dimensional horde, and her venerated photos make for dubious folk art. Though it’s swaddled in pretty tones of glowing sepia and twilight gold, Everlasting Moments most blatantly flaunts the aura of award-bait in the chaste romance between lower-depths Galatea and her compassionate but unavailable mentor, for which it was duly honored with an armful of Swedish Oscars. Unfortunately, Troell’s lens doesn’t consistently uncover the beauty and character we’re asked to believe his heroine finds with hers.
- IFC Films
- 131 min
- Jan Troell
- Niklas Rådström, Jan Troell, Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell
- Maria Heiskanen, Mikael Persbrandt, Jesper Christensen, Callin Öhrvall, Nellie Almgren, Ghita Nørby
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