×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Behind Blue Skies

The film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion.

With:
With: Bill Skarsgard, Peter Dalle, Josefin Ljungman. (Swedish dialogue)

Giving Michael Cera some competition as the screen’s personification of teenage-hero-as-hapless-naif, Sweden’s Bill Skarsgard makes the most of a real star turn in writer-director Hannes Holm’s ’70s period comedy “Behind Blue Skies.” A joyously clever take on the coming-of-age story, the film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion. Likely too mainstream for specialty markets, “Skies” has “remake” written all over it.

Literally wide-eyed teenager Martin (Skarsgard, who has the biggest orbs since Anita Ekberg), passes up a night of sex so he can get home to help his mother. Heterosexual men will admire his fortitude if not his judgment; Martin seems almost too good to be true. Still, when he’s followed around by Goran Hallberg’s camera, we see the extent to which he vents his rage (on inanimate objects) over his father’s alcoholism, his mother’s passivity and his seeming lack of options.

This all changes when a friend’s family invites him along to a bucolic vacation island for the summer (the “friend” subsequently ditching him for greener pastures), and Martin begins work among a troupe of general flunkies at the restaurant and resort run by Gosta (Peter Dalle), a man who takes the concept of being a mentor to weird and unexpected places. Gosta runs a tight ship; anyone caught drinking, or even hung over, is summarily dismissed. He’s also a sarcastic little devil, so the young staff is kept in a virtual state of terror.

One of the wonderful things about “Behind Blue Skies” is the way Gosta, without ever articulating it, responds to Martin’s guilelessness — he considers the boy his heir apparent — as if recalling his own long-buried innocence. That this sort of magical union of souls occurs while Gosta is introducing Martin to his various business interests (hookers, strippers and much worse) is dryly hilarious.

Holm has a delicate hand with his solid cast — in addition to Skarsgard and Dalle, Josefin Ljungman is thoroughly winning as Martin’s co-worker Jenny, who evolves into his love interest. Indeed, Martin grows up beautifully along the way to a near-classic climax.

Tech credits are good, particularly Mattias Barjed’s music, which suggests the ’70s without invoking Abba.

Behind Blue Skies

Sweden

Production: A Fladen Film presentation. (International sales: Trust Nordisk, Copenhagen.) Produced by Patrick Ryborn. Co-producers, Gunnar Carlsson, Lone Korslund, Jesper Bergom-Larsson. Directed, written by Hannes Holm.

Crew: Camera (color), Goran Hallberg; editor, Fredrik Morheden; music, Mattias Barjed; sound (Dolby/DTS), Europa Sound Prod. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 10, 2010. Running time: 111 MIN.

With: With: Bill Skarsgard, Peter Dalle, Josefin Ljungman. (Swedish dialogue)

More Film

  • Colombia’s Macondo Academy Award Winners, 2018

    ‘Killing Jesus’ Wins Big at Colombia’s 2018 Macondo Academy Awards

    Giving Michael Cera some competition as the screen’s personification of teenage-hero-as-hapless-naif, Sweden’s Bill Skarsgard makes the most of a real star turn in writer-director Hannes Holm’s ’70s period comedy “Behind Blue Skies.” A joyously clever take on the coming-of-age story, the film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion. Likely […]

  • ‘Free Solo’ Tops Kendal Mountain Festival,

    ‘Free Solo’ Tops Kendal Mountain Festival

    Giving Michael Cera some competition as the screen’s personification of teenage-hero-as-hapless-naif, Sweden’s Bill Skarsgard makes the most of a real star turn in writer-director Hannes Holm’s ’70s period comedy “Behind Blue Skies.” A joyously clever take on the coming-of-age story, the film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion. Likely […]

  • Olivier Awards 2016

    Judi Dench to Be Honored at British Independent Film Awards

    Giving Michael Cera some competition as the screen’s personification of teenage-hero-as-hapless-naif, Sweden’s Bill Skarsgard makes the most of a real star turn in writer-director Hannes Holm’s ’70s period comedy “Behind Blue Skies.” A joyously clever take on the coming-of-age story, the film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion. Likely […]

  • ‘Act of Killing’s’ Final Cut for

    Frida and Lasse Barkfors Pitch 'School Shooters' At IDFA Forum

    Giving Michael Cera some competition as the screen’s personification of teenage-hero-as-hapless-naif, Sweden’s Bill Skarsgard makes the most of a real star turn in writer-director Hannes Holm’s ’70s period comedy “Behind Blue Skies.” A joyously clever take on the coming-of-age story, the film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion. Likely […]

  • IDFA: ‘Dawn’ Director Carmen Torres on

    IDFA: Colombia’s Carmen Torres’ Talks IDFA Doc ‘Dawn’

    Giving Michael Cera some competition as the screen’s personification of teenage-hero-as-hapless-naif, Sweden’s Bill Skarsgard makes the most of a real star turn in writer-director Hannes Holm’s ’70s period comedy “Behind Blue Skies.” A joyously clever take on the coming-of-age story, the film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion. Likely […]

  • VENOM

    China Box Office: 'Venom' Enjoys Spectacular $87 Million Second Weekend

    Giving Michael Cera some competition as the screen’s personification of teenage-hero-as-hapless-naif, Sweden’s Bill Skarsgard makes the most of a real star turn in writer-director Hannes Holm’s ’70s period comedy “Behind Blue Skies.” A joyously clever take on the coming-of-age story, the film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion. Likely […]

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

    Korea Box Office: 'Fantastic Beasts' Beats 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and Burns 'BTS'

    Giving Michael Cera some competition as the screen’s personification of teenage-hero-as-hapless-naif, Sweden’s Bill Skarsgard makes the most of a real star turn in writer-director Hannes Holm’s ’70s period comedy “Behind Blue Skies.” A joyously clever take on the coming-of-age story, the film has enough hormones and humor to challenge U.S. resistance to foreign invasion. Likely […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content