ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – T – Thelma (2017)

Director: Joachim Trier

Writer: Joachim Trier, Eskil Vogt (Screenplay)

Starring: Eili Harboe, Kaya Wilkins, Henrick Rafaelsen, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Grethe Eltervag, Marte Magnusdotter Solem

Plot: A confused religious girl tries to deny her feelings for a female friend who’s in love with her. This causes her suppressed subconsciously-controlled psychokinetic powers to reemerge with devastating results.


Tagline – Do you dare be who you are?

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderfully Tangled Together

Story: Thelma starts when student Thelma (Harboe) joins university, she has come from a religious background and joins here not knowing anybody, looking to focus on studying, she suffers from an epileptic fit, which she hadn’t ever suffered from before. This fit got notice from outgoing student Anja (Wilkins) who befriends Thelma, showing her university experience, pushing Thelma out of her comfort zone.

After Anja shows Thelma her true feelings, Thelma gets torn between her religious beliefs and a romance, all while her epilepsy continues to get worse and it has something to do with her childhood.

Thoughts on Thelma

Characters – Thelma was born into a religious family, she has been raised in a sheltered life before university, here she starts to experience new feelings including love for another girl, something she couldn’t never follow, on top of this she starts suffering seizures which aren’t easy to explain, forcing her to look into her past for answers. Anja is the student that wants to get romantically involved with Thelma, they starts as friends, she shows her a new freedom in life, but isn’t allowed in as close as she would like. Trond is Thelma’s father that has used his position to help hide her problems in the past, only for him having to face a difficult decision in the opening of the film.

PerformancesEili Harboe is wonderful in the leading role because she balances the uncertainty of her own sexuality, mixed with the move to university and an unknown illness that is holding her back, Eili shows all of these in her performance. Kaya Wilkins brings her character to life with ease being one that needs to help open somebody up. Henrik Rafaelsen is strong in the supporting role as the father too, this film does revolve around the performance of Eili Harboe.

StoryThe story here follows a university student that starts to learn of her own unique abilities, one that is very dangerous and one that she has been hiding away for years after her own tragic discovery, she also must go through the university experience which only shows us more of her change. This story is filled with a lot to break down, it seems to start with the basics of a shy girl being broken out of her shell at university, her religious beliefs being questioned when she becomes attracted to another female student and the pressure of being ill, but no easy answer to what is going on. The truth does get unfolded slowly and this adds to the effective side of the film, making us wonder just what will happen next to her. We might have a lot to piece together through this film which could make the story complicated in place too.

Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/RomanceWe do jump into a bunch of genres here, with the fantasy side of the story coming from Thelma’s mind, which does add into the horrors she experiences and the mystery behind why they are happening, the romance shows how God loving people will still not be willing to accept something different in their lives.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in two main locations, the university campus which is new for Thelma, a place for her to adapt to and meet new people, while the other setting is her family home, which is away from the world, the two different locations show how Thelma must adapt to life before getting caught up with her own problems.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well in the film, we don’t turn to them that often, which makes the few usages of them surprising and they do come off effective for their moments.


Scene of the Movie – Nice day for boating.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could blink and miss a key part to the story.

Final Thoughts This is a fantasy horror mystery that will keep you guessing, you will need to watch carefully for the clues to the answer or certain things might not make sense, but it is very rewarding with a wonderful lead performance.

Overall: Mystery that keeps giving.

Rating