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Queen of Hearts

'Dronningen' (The Queen of Hearts) (2019)

Dir.: May el-Toukhy

'Dronningen' (The Queen of Hearts) is a Danish family drama directed by May el-Toukhy. A well off couple with 2 young girls have an extra guest - as the father's troubled stepson comes to stay with them.

The film creeps up on you and makes you squirm and feel uncomfortable. There are disturbing scenes, very explicit scenes, some beautifully shot scenes and some scenes so tense that you can feel yourself edging forward in your seat. The brilliance of these scenes is that the viewer thinks they know exactly what's coming....... but it doesn't. This happens two or three times in the film and it's to the Directors credit that the viewer is left wondering where the film will turn next.

Despite this, the film is quite low key, especially the first hour or so. There are no set pieces here or thrilling action. It is heavy dialogue which is written well, as we need to know the backstory of the characters.

Trine Dyrholm is excellent as the central figure - a woman with a slightly secretive past who doesn't seem to like playing by the rules and admitting mistakes. Her husband on the other hand seems to be the opposite- willing to learn from his past and just trying to do what is right for his family. I think the Director purposefully chooses the father's profession as a Doctor (supposed to fix people) and the mother as a lawyer (supposed to uphold the law), in an attempt to make a point. This leaves the viewer grappling with the question of whether to feel empathy for any of the characters, which may possibly be a sticking point for some.

The film's third act deals with the fallout of decisions made and like many good films leaves the viewer wondering how it all pans out in the future for certain characters. It' a good character study and deserves a wide audience.