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Move Me

A charming ensembler in which a pampered but unpretentious housewife rethinks her priorities after an unanticipated divorce, "Move Me" is light entertainment told with a sure hand. Crowd-pleasing comedy revolves around half-a-dozen deftly limned characters who live on the same street and take a concerted interest in each others' business, invited or not. Scripted and directed by eight-pic vet Morten Arnfred -- whose previous gigs include co-directing "The Kingdom" with Lars Von Trier -- this is a promising bet for fests and beyond.

With:
With: Birthe Neumann, Jesper Lohmann, Ditte Grabol, Asger Reher, Niels Olsen, Claus Bue, Gyrd Lofquist, Lykke Sand Michelsen.

A charming ensembler in which a pampered but unpretentious housewife rethinks her priorities after an unanticipated divorce, “Move Me” is light entertainment told with a sure hand. Crowd-pleasing comedy revolves around half-a-dozen deftly limned characters who live on the same street and take a concerted interest in each others’ business, invited or not. Scripted and directed by eight-pic vet Morten Arnfred — whose previous gigs include co-directing “The Kingdom” with Lars Von Trier — this is a promising bet for fests and beyond.

Classy Sara (Birthe Neumann), a sprightly 50-something, comes home from shopping to an announcement by her husband of 25 years that he’s fallen for a much younger co-worker. Her pride mortally wounded, Sara decides she’ll do everything for herself from now on. She rents a small furnished house on a suburban thoroughfare called Happy Street, gets a job on a hotel’s cleaning staff, and slowly adjusts to being on her own in reduced circumstances.

Her neighbors have all signed a petition — spearheaded by patrician playboy Holger (Niels Olsen) — to oblige Sara’s adjacent neighbor, Robert (Jesper Lohmann), to clear some unsightly clutter from his driveway. A taciturn taxi driver in his mid-30s, Robert has been plagued by sorrow since his wife died five years ago.

Robert has been ostracized, so it creates waves when newcomer Sara is civil, and then downright friendly, to the hulking fellow who showers buck naked in his backyard. As Sara and Robert grow ever so tentatively closer, a couple across the street — Sus and Bo (Ditte Grabol, Asger Reher) — run into comically plotted marital strife.

Winningly observed pic is a portrait of human adaptability that radiates emotional truth, even though this is a kinder, gentler and infinitely more entertaining batch of neighbors than most recent divorcees would ever encounter. Neumann is marvelous as Sara, the sheltered upscale wife and mother who moves down market but wears pearls at all times. Other thesps in orbit around her are all fun to watch.

Plenty of close-ups and summery colors neatly underscore the changes afoot in this upbeat little pic.

Move Me

Denmark

Production: A Nordisk Film Prods./Directors Cut production, in association with TV2 (Denmark). (International sales: Nordisk, Copenhagen.) Produced by Ake Sandgren, Lars Kjeldgaard. Directed, written by Morten Arnfred.

Crew: Camera (color), Dirk Bruel; editor, Lars Therkelsen; music, Ole Arnfred, John Bruland; production designer, Soren Skjaer; costume designer, Malin Birch-Jensen; sound (Dolby), John Nielsen, Jonas Langkilde, Michael Dela. Reviewed at Gothenburg Film Festival (competing), Sweden, Jan. 30, 2003. Running time: 97 min.

With: With: Birthe Neumann, Jesper Lohmann, Ditte Grabol, Asger Reher, Niels Olsen, Claus Bue, Gyrd Lofquist, Lykke Sand Michelsen.

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