Charming and whimsical, “Wonderful and Loved by All” is a lightweight comedy about an aspiring actress whose lie ultimately becomes her downfall. Largely set at Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre, the pic has fun showing some of Sweden’s most famous legit actors sending themselves up. Shot while Ingmar Bergman was still alive, “Wonderful” realistically portrays his power over the theater — everything would come to a standstill with the words “Ingmar is in the building” — giving a potential hook for foreign buyers.
Bella (Martina Haag, author of the original bestseller) is single, near 40, and desperate to land a serious job. At an audition for a Bergman production of “Twelfth Night,” she’s asked if she can perform acrobatic acts and blithely says yes. During rehearsals, she falls for a Danish guest performer (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and, for a while, everything seems to go her way. Haag’s novel turned her into a local household name and, under the direction of Hannes Holm (“Adam and Eva”), she’s OK in the lead. Pic also includes a dream sequence on the island of Faro, Bergman’s home, where Bella imagines herself spying on the old master.