Marie Blokhus, Pål Sverre Hagen, Jannike Kruse, Olav Waastad, Ine Willman
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…an unusual look at love and marriage in a romantic comedy that hides a bitter aftertaste.
The second feature from Norwegian director, Charlotte Blom, takes an unusual look at love and marriage in a romantic comedy that hides a bitter aftertaste.
It’s 1981 and Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer have gotten married. On the same day in Norway, young couple Liv (Marie Blokhus) and Terje (Pål Sverre Hagen) celebrate their own nuptials alongside their baby daughter, Diana. Liv and Terje love each other dearly, but have an unusual approach to how they show it to each other and their children.
Over the course of forty years, we watch them scream at each other, cut down doors using chainsaws and get wildly drunk. They even use their daughter as a conduit to pass on insults to each other in a manner similar to the grotesque Charlie and Stella in The League of Gentlemen. Sometimes, it’s played for laughs, and sometimes, the impact it’s having on Diana and her little brother is heartbreaking. To hear from Liv and Terje though, you’d think nothing was wrong. As they drunkenly pick apart the ongoing issues with the aforementioned royal couple, they seem utterly blinkered to their own selfish behaviour.
Blom’s film asks us to be sympathetic to Liv and Terje, encouraging us to laugh at the toxic couple, while also inviting us to cheer them on. To elicit further sympathy, the director regularly compares them to their ostensibly perfect neighbours, Unni (Jannike Kruse) and Olav (Olav Waastad). As the years go by, Unni and Olav’s marriage is revealed to be just as problematic as Liv and Terje’s.
However, while both couples drink heavily, tease their children and are generally awful to each other, the key difference, Blom explicitly states through Unni and Olav’s daughter, is that Liv and Terje genuinely love each other. Whether you’ll agree to that is dependent on how won over you are by our protagonists and their alcohol fuelled misadventures.
All of the above dovetails into the grown Diana fearing that her parents arrive to her own wedding in 2020. It feels like this should have been the main narrative of the film on to which the director could have hung flashbacks to when the bride was much younger. As it is, the titular wedding takes up a surprisingly small amount of time in the film and the resolution of 40 years of dysfunctional parenting fails to convince.
Overall, Diana’s Wedding reinvents the romantic comedy by capturing a side of marriage that isn’t often shown on screen.