Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Swedish director Jimmy Olsson explores some incredibly important themes in his short film Alive, and it was enough to stir some very strong emotions in me.
Despite the fact it only has a runtime of 23 minutes, it manages to pack so much in and explore the dynamic between disabled woman Victoria (Eva Johansson) and her carer Ida (Madeleine Martin).
When Victoria meets Ida’s boyfriend Björn (Joel Ödmann), she soon finds herself craving companionship and the film explores the difficulties surrounding that when you’re living with disabilities and spend most of your time alongside a carer.
However, this film is far from patronising, and it shows dating with a disability in a raw yet very fair light. There’s some surprises along the way and it works to challenge the audience’s expectations.
Victoria is a great protagonist, played brilliantly by Johansson. With a little help from Ida, she’s able to come out of her shell and express what she really wants out of life. She’s witty, intensely likeable, and doesn’t want her disability to define her.
Ida is fiercely protective over Victoria, but spending time with her has clearly taught her a lot about her own life and how she shouldn’t judge books by their cover. Victoria craves some independence, which is something she and Ida disagree on.
Olsson tells a brilliant story with Alive. Not only is it very well written, it’s also filmed to perfection. The visuals and cinematography is just gorgeous, and he’s proven he knows how to craft a short film.
Alive is actually Olsson’s eleventh short film, further proving his dedication to this format. He’s comfortable with comedic elements and it shows in this film, mixing serious topics with the right amount of humour.
Personally I found this film an absolute joy to watch, and was immediately invested in the characters, particularly Victoria. There’s something so fascinating about her as a character, and it’s easy to feel like she’s talking directly to you.
Olsson is a master storyteller, and Alive is proof of that. It’s an uniquely intimate look at living with a disability, independence, dating, and friendships. But beyond that, it’s a real eye opener and forces you to challenge your own biases.
The last line especially is a genius way of ending the film, and made me laugh out loud. It’s always a joy to see a script this well written and carefully considered.
Seek this one out when you can, you won’t regret it.
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