Friends reunited, Scandi style! Like a Nordic take on Peters Friends and The Big Sleep, this engaging comedy drama focuses on a group of Finnish millennials who gather at an idyllic lakeside villa they last visited as teenagers. They are there for a surprise 40th birthday party, though it’s obvious that the birthday girl Mitzi, who announces she is going through a divorce, really just wants to be left alone. As alcohol is consumed, old flames are reignited, differences emerge and this brief regression intro teenage life forces them to re-evaluate their friendships and values as adults.
Jenni Toivoniemi’s accomplished first feature examines the lives of her subjects with forensic precision and a keen ear for authentic, yet witty, dialogue, delivered by a well-cast ensemble – watch out for The Last Kingdom and Fleabag star Christian Hillborg as the bash Swedish boyfriend of Mitzi’s best friend. A roving, verité camera makes us feel as if we are actually there with them, eavesdropping on conversations, capturing the shift in dynamics in response to confessions, faux pas and badly timed announcements. The Finnish title translates as “parlor game”, here it becomes a spectator sport.
“In Jenni Toivoniemi’s rather lovely debut, who needs enemies if you have friends?” - Cineuropa.