Stockholm My Love Review

Courtesy of British Film Council

Courtesy of British Film Council

by Lorcán Pigott-Dix

Stockholm My Love
Director: Mark Cousins
Starring: Neneh Cherry
Release: 26th June 2017

Played out in the mind of our protagonist and the city around her, this is not your typical story of redemption and forgiveness – an aesthetically stunning, refreshing approach to how a story can be told through the medium of film. 

Although this is a story of an architect coming to terms with grief and trauma, the narrative becomes intertwined with the story of the city around her. Long shots of buildings impart the sentiment that the buildings that make up the city are in fact its actors – the scenery makes up the people that live amongst the structures. These shots, coupled with the narration by the protagonist, make one feel as though they are seeing the city through the eyes of the architect herself. My attention was brought to features of the buildings that I would never have noticed, their significance to the story of Stockholm (The murder of Olof Palme) and to the Swedish psyche (The Swedish Model, Rationalism). 

I did not find Neneh Cherry’s acting to be entirely captivating, though this is her first screen role. However, her narration allowed the visuals space to breathe and the gentle quality of her voice complemented the poetic character of the narration.

Stockholm My Love caused me to think deeply about the power of architecture. Its power to shape our destinies and to express our humanity. From the rows of rationalist housing developments, meant to inspire egalitarianism; to the romantic Engelbrekt Church, a building to humble us before the divine. 

There is a particularly moving scene within the Englebrekt Church. The scene is accompanied by a Franz Berwald (19th c. Swedish composer) piece that perfectly builds the emotional tension. The protagonist attempts to reconcile her grief with her hopes of future happiness. Can the straight lines and clean patterns of our ideals come to terms with the rough grain and asymmetry of human nature? 

After its forthcoming BFI theatrical release in selected cinemas UK-wide on 16 June, Stockholm My Love will be released in a Dual Format Edition by the BFI on 26 June 2017.