REVIEW: Moody Norwegian Lesbian Drama ‘Thelma’ Echoes ‘Carrie’

Still from supernatural lesbian drama film Thelma, screening at Palace Cinemas as part of the Scandinavian film festival

A coming-of-age tale but not as we traditionally know it, Thelma places a fresh, dark twist on the genre to dazzling effect.

At the core of Joachim Trier’s seductive film lies a recognisable story – one of sexual awakening and discovering one’s true self – but a haunting supernatural element placed on the material allows the film to tell a tale we aren’t entirely prepared for.

The titular Thelma (a beautifully introspective performance from Eili Harboe) is a young university student who, one day whilst studying, suffers an unexpected seizure.

With no history of epilepsy in her family, and the doctors at a loss due to clear test results, Thelma is advised that perhaps stress is the key and finding herself a group of friends may be the cure – enter Anja (Kaya Wilkins).

A deep, romantic connection between Thelma and Anja forms almost instantly, but due to Thelma’s strict Christian background, her feelings towards Anja terrify her, and seem to only enhance the seizures that defy explanation.

As the film creeps along with eerie details and unexplained improbability, the truth unravels itself and flashback sequences regarding Thelma’s childhood and the horror of what she is capable of unveil a disturbing ingredient that echoes horror classic Carrie in the unconventional bond between Thelma and her parents.

At once a haunting drama, a delicate love story, and a supernatural horror film, Thelma is a captivating picture that burns slow and leaves a lasting mark when pressed.

Thelma is screening as part the 2018 Scandinavian Film Festival at Palace Cinemas. For session times near you, visit the Palace Cinemas website here. Watch the trailer below:

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