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Wild At Heart movie review - Simon and the Oaks

Wild Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog

Wild At Heart

A critically acclaimed movie from Sweden following the lives of two families, the poor Godicke family and the rich Linnertorp Jewish family, through the backdrop of Sweden between 1939-1952. "Simon and the Oaks" focus is mainly on Simon who despite his poor upbringing convinces his father to send him to an upper-class grammar school where he meets Isak, the son of a wealthy Jewish bookseller who fled Nazi persecution. The two boys form a strong bond despite their differing backgrounds and it is brought into further focus as the boys find their inner selves in the opposing fathers. Young Isak learns to enjoy working with his hands in the wood-working business and forms a strong bond with Simon's father. Simon in return is attracted to the higher class trapping of Isak's father life and enjoys going to concerts with him. As the kids grow up things get more complicated, esp when Simon is told he is adopted from his mother's crazy sister and searches for his musician biological father.

I wish we could have had more time with the kids growing up because a little bit of the punch is left behind as the kids get older and some things like Simon's disrespecting of his mother gets a bit lost in translation. I would have also liked to have seen more of the impact of the Nazi's in the daily lives of the Swedes and how they affect the families. This is mostly done quickly and doesn't have the lasting distrust and horror I would have liked to have seen. At the start of the film, we also see a young Simon daydreaming in the magical Oak tree on their property and I wish the tree could have played a bigger role throughout the film but is disappears for large chucks of the film. However, despite these minor points the film is filled with great acting by all the principal actors, esp the kids who play young Simon and Isak, and I enjoy seeing the way the families grow up and their lives intersect throughout this interesting backdrop.

Lisa Ohlin does a great job juggling everything as well as bringing some excellent cinematography to this film. I have been getting a bit tired of seeing films about WWII but this movie does bring some freshness to the genre as is definitely worth checking out. I give this film a B rating as it starts today at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak.