Review: ‘The Little Big Girl’

A plucky foundling determines her own fate in "The Little Big Girl," a somber family pic adapted from a favorite Scandinavian children's tale by Cecil Bodker. Second feature (after 1999's "Fast Lane") from Danish director-scenarist Morten Kohlert is a solid enough item that could attract sales to quality kid-catering broadcasters.

A plucky foundling determines her own fate in “The Little Big Girl,” a somber family pic adapted from a favorite Scandinavian children’s tale by Cecil Bodker. Second feature (after 1999’s “Fast Lane”) from Danish director-scenarist Morten Kohlert is a solid enough item that could attract sales to quality kid-catering broadcasters.

Discovered living in a feral state by pubescent apprentice cowherd Larus (Peter Jeppe Hansen) deep in the forest outside a mid-19th century Danish village, 7-year-old Tinke (Sarah Juel Werner) has survived alone since both parents died over the past year. She’s reluctantly taken by Larus to his home, unpleasantly shared with a cruel master, harsh mistress and their hulking, retarded adult son. Tinke easily makes friends with the supposedly dangerous son, while putting up considerable resistance toward the couple’s “civilizing” efforts. She recalls that her own mom ran away from a rich family, which leads to her being taken in by a snooty clan who suspects she’s their lost granddaughter. Indomitable wee heroine precociously carves out a space according to her own desires, not the grown-ups’. Production is attractively mounted if rather dark in interiors and muted in outdoor color.

The Little Big Girl

Denmark

Production

An ASA Film Production. Produced by Henrik Moller-Sorensen. Executive producer, Peter Bose. Directed, written by Morten Kohlert, from the novel "Hungerbarnet" by Cecil Bodker.

Crew

Camera (color), Bo Tengberg; editors, Anne Osterud, Janus Billeskov Jansen; music, Flaskkvartetten; production designer, Soren Gam. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (World Cinema: Reflections of Our Time), Aug. 28, 2002. (Also in Haugesund Film Festival.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Sarah Juel Werner, Peter Jeppe Hansen, Lisbet Dahl, Erik Wedersoe, Birthe Neumann, Bent Mejding, Jonas Oscarsson, Kjeld Norgaard.
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