Review: ‘Shades Of Happiness’

The biological clocks of two thirtysomething Finnish women become ticking time bombs that threaten to blow their lives apart in domestic comedy-drama "Shades of Happiness." Ploddingly if competently helmed by Claes Olsson ("Amazing Women by the Sea") who's better known as a producer, pic starts off as schematic and turns contrived by the end, although frisky perfs from leads Tiina Lymi and Milka Ahlroth add stronger tints. Savvy marketing to femme auds could stir up bright B.O. colors, especially in Nordic territories.

The biological clocks of two thirtysomething Finnish women become ticking time bombs that threaten to blow their lives apart in domestic comedy-drama “Shades of Happiness.” Ploddingly if competently helmed by Claes Olsson (“Amazing Women by the Sea”) who’s better known as a producer, pic starts off as schematic and turns contrived by the end, although frisky perfs from leads Tiina Lymi and Milka Ahlroth add stronger tints. Savvy marketing to femme auds could stir up bright B.O. colors, especially in Nordic territories.

Schoolteacher Paula (Lymi, finely neurotic) is overjoyed when her latest fertility treatment finally takes — so much so she starts wearing a pillow under her clothes to get used to her imminent shape. Her therapist hubby Jarkko (Nicke Lignell) worries she may be getting her hopes up too high. Meanwhile, he’s treatinghigh-flying career woman Helena (Ahlroth), whose sudden urge to breed is thwarted by the improprieties of her caddish spouse Mikko (Santeri Kinnunen). A high-school reunion brings the two plot strands further together. Characters as devised by novelist-turned-scripter Anna-Leena Harkonen remain by-numbers, chick-lit types, despite thesps’ best efforts. Tech package is pro.

Shades Of Happiness

Finland

Production

A Kinoproduction Oy presentation of a Filmlance Intl., Borje Hanssen production, in association with MTV3 Oy, with support of the Finnish Film Foundation. (International sales: Nordisk, Copenhagen.) Produced by Claes Olsson, Leila Lyytikainen. Directed by Claes Olsson. Screenplay, Anna-Leena Harkonen.

Crew

Camera (color), Pertti Mutanen; editor, Oskar Franzen; music, Yari; set designer, Minna Santakari; costume designer, Elina Lario. Reviewed at Gothenburg Film Festival (Nordic Event), Feb. 3, 2005. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- European Film Market.) Original title: Onnen varjot. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Tiina Lymi, Nicke Lignell, Milka Ahlroth, Santeri Kinnunen, Anna-Leena Harkonen, Otto Kanerva.
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