I review the DVD release of the Swedish drama As It Is In Heaven, one of the five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2005 Academy Award, for the Turner Classic Movies website.
Set in a seemingly idyllic village in rural Sweden, As It Is in Heaven splits the difference between heartwarming small town comedy of an outsider bonding with eccentric inhabitants and spiky drama of the insular town that turns its head to the ugly truths beneath the gentle surface.
The outside is workaholic musician turned internationally renowned classic music conductor Daniel Daréus (Michael Nyqvist, star of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels). “Ever since I was a little boy, I had a dream to create music to open people’s hearts,” he explains in the opening scenes, an idyllic moment of a child playing violin in a sunny field that, like so many moments of his life, twist into a portrait of a cruel world trying to beat his dreams down. Orphaned as a young teen, he’s raised by a manager and throw into a career without a personal life. His passion for music and drive for perfection get twisted into a kind of tyranny and he conducts as if battling a demon, sweating and bleeding until it finally takes its toll: a heart attack.
Read the compete feature on TCM here.