Ani is still a young (forty-something) woman living a full life: she has a wonderful family, a successful career as a choreographer - and it seems that everything is still ahead. But the key word here is "it seems" - just a couple of days before Christmas, doctors put Ani with a terrible diagnosis: brain cancer, metastases, it is incurable, get ready for the worst. Ani is trying to maintain peace of mind, but it's not easy when you have six (!) Children, and your husband has long become just a neighbor in a double bed.
Hope (2019), a film made by the combined forces of Scandinavia but nominated for an Oscar from Norway last year, has finally reached our cinemas. And it’s very good that I got there - we really miss such strong dramas that do not go into hysterics and falsity.
"Hope" was directed by a female director, and it is very noticeable. The story of Anya and her common-law husband Thomas (Stellan Skarsgaard) is one that we see every day in our family, in the family of our relatives, friends or neighbors. Twenty years together, a long extinct love that has grown into a habit. The second half, causing irritation at a subconscious level, bargaining for the attention of children, and in general - for attention. With tiny details, the slightest hints, Maria Sedal raises the history of this couple from the very bottom: he is a quarter of a century older than her (“When Thomas first married, I was barely four years old”), she met him when he was still married. The children eventually became common - from both his first marriage and their subsequent civil marriage. By the way, as in the real biography of Skarsgard himself, who left the mother of his six children to marry a young one.
Now they go to bed without even kissing each other or saying good night. But Ani's diagnosis becomes not a sentence to their almost dead marriage, but, on the contrary, salvation for him.
Ani holds her back, or rather, tries to hold, despite the migraine, pills, fear of imminent death. She is all stoicism and a daily feat that is so rarely noticed in real life (and the feat is not only the terminally ill, but also the feat of the mother). Thomas is more about male selfishness, unwillingness to understand problems if these problems are compatible with a completely comfortable life. Stellan Skarsgård, with his joviality and masculine magnetism, evokes the whole spectrum of emotions - from pity to love.
And his change to Ani, a feeling that suddenly awakened to her, does not look like a fake plot move for lovers of melodramas. They say about cancer in this film: "This disease is like an onion - you peel off layer by layer until you see the essence." The same can be said about the love of adults, which is no longer about romance and pigeon cooing, but just about peeling the bulb. And with onions, after all, how - until you get to the core, you cannot do without tears.