Review: ‘Someone Like Hodder’

Based on Bjarne Renter's popular book, Danish kidpic is a wistful if downbeat tale of a picked-on boy's fantasy life and stubbornly good-natured attempts to fit in. First feature from helmer Henrik Ruben Genz (Oscar winner for 1999 short "Theis and Nico") is an accomplished item that should prove attractive among global broadcasters.

Based on Bjarne Renter’s popular book, Danish kidpic “Someone Like Hodder” is a wistful if downbeat tale of a picked-on boy’s fantasy life and stubbornly good-natured attempts to fit in. You needn’t scratch far beneath family-friendly surface to find a disturbing portrait of an isolated, possibly delusional tyke headed toward major mental-health problems. Nonetheless, first feature from helmer Henrik Ruben Genz (Oscar winner for 1999 short “Theis and Nico”) is an accomplished item that should prove attractive among global broadcasters.

His mother having died when he was a toddler, sweet-faced Hodder (Frederick Christian Johansen) has been raised by a youngish dad (Lars Brygmann) frustrated that his night-shift job prevents them spending more time together. At school, Hodder is the designated blame-magnet, even after a true holy terror from Iceland arrives as his new deskmate. One night a Tinkerbelle-like fairy appears over his bed to inform Hodder he’s expected to save the world — a duty he takes seriously, trying to enlist help from fellow student Filip and skeptical others. But rejection and humiliation are mostly his lot until fanciful wrap-up. Polished design contribs and good perfs ballast the rather sad story.

Someone Like Hodder

Denmark

Production

A Nordisk Film production in association with TV2/Denmark. Produced by Tina Dalhoff. Executive producers, Rumle Hammerich, Erik Crone. Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz. Screenplay, Bo Hansen, based on the novel by Bjarne Reuter.

Crew

Camera (color), Bo Tengberg; editor, Miriam Norgaard; music, Kare Bjerko, Frithjof Toksvig; production designer, Niels Sejer. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 6, 2003. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Frederick Christian Johansen, Lars Brygmann, Birthe Neumann, Trine Appel, Anders Lunden Kjeldsen, Maurice Blinkenberg, Cecile Egemose Osterry, Anette Stovelbaek, Mette Horn.
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