Dronningen. April 3, 2019

I saw the Danish/Swedish drama Dronningen1, in a movie theater that was uncharacteristically packed for a Monday. I imagine the reason is that the movie has been getting a lot of press, apparently for being controversial. (I don’t know what the controversy is, but I can take a guess.) I tried writing my thoughts in a spoiler-free fashion but I only produced nonsense, so mind the spoilers below.

My first impression of Anne is that she is a bit too controlling and uptight and needs to relax a bit. That she does eventually, partly due to a few failures at work and partly due to seeing the carefreeness and youth of the newly arrived Gustav. And I suppose she has a bit of a midlife crisis as well.

By engaging in a groundbreaking affair with Gustav, she allows herself to become more and more vulnerable, and happier as a result. I don’t know if she ever contemplates what her new life situation means to people around her, because the moment her choices start affecting her “old” life, she shuts off the affair and comes back to being her old self again. Although this winds up having terrible consequences to her family, she seems to deal with it just fine, her previous life choices having been vindicated.

What it got me thinking about, even though it’s probably not the focus of the movie – it has a lot more things to say –, was how it’s impossible to introduce positive change in our lives without also changing what’s around us. And failure to see that often leads old behaviors to be reinforced, which makes future change more difficult. It’s a bit like the alcoholic who wants to remove the bad influences of alcohol in their life (and who wouldn’t want that!) but does not want to change their life otherwise. Maybe they try to drink less, which essentially never works. Or maybe they quit drinking but still want to keep their old friends. Introducing change is a lot more work than you think.

  1. The English title is “Queen of Hearts”, but I refuse to use that at least until it comes out in English-speaking countries. ↩︎