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OPEN HEARTS


CAST: Sonja Richter, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Mads Mikkelsen, Paprika Steen, Stine Bjerregaard, Birthe Neumann, Niels Olsen, Ulf Pilgaard

DIRECTOR: Susanne Bier

 

"The differences between a soap opera and a serious drama are starkly illustrated by Susanne Bier's emotionally devastating ‘Open Hearts’…Until the end, when it begins to go soft, the movie takes two strands of soap opera convention — a life-changing accident and an adulterous affair — and spins their suds into gold…Because ‘Open Hearts’ follows the austere rules of the Danish filmmaking collective Dogma 95, it purveys a documentary-style realism that dilutes any lingering soap opera gloss. The rough-hewn visual style matches the bite of Anders Thomas Jensen's screenplay, which pounces on all the painful issues of affliction, sex and death that you half wish the movie would sidestep." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Poignant, thoughtful and utterly absorbing, Susanne Bier's Dogme film ‘Open Hearts’ is a gem…Though the script sounds like soap opera, in the hands of Bier and her accomplished cast ‘Open Hearts’ becomes a true, sometimes painful look at emotional dynamics. People fall in love when they least expect it and, for Cecilie and Niels, who till now have been in happy relationships, a chance meeting, caused by a tragedy, has life-altering effects…the simplicity of the story is enhanced by the Dogme approach, making it one of the best in this format." --Gunnar Rehlin, Variety

"Here's yet another brilliant film from the home of the Dogme 95 Manifesto, a strong story about love strained to the breaking point…an honest, open film that completely blurs the lines between reality and cinema. This feels so real that it takes our breath away--it's moving, profoundly involving and deeply meaningful." --Rich Cline, Film Threat

"Like ‘Italian for Beginners,’ Susanne Bier's ‘Open Hearts’ is full-contact romantic intercourse, although of a considerably more tragic stripe. For all of its wry sedition, the Danish movement's infinitely teasable ‘chastity’—manifesting as jump cuts, exposure-challenged imagery, and mock-doc handheld-ness—has almost always boiled down to intimate melodrama…the movie percolates with immediacy and genuine warmth." -- Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

"One of the better Dogma 95 films to come out of Denmark, Susan Biers' ‘Open Hearts’ is a powerful, well-acted drama exploring the impact of a catastrophic automobile accident on several lives…‘Open Hearts’ is less Spartan than some films shot under the Dogma ‘vow of chastity’ (there's actually a little music), but it's raw enough to complement the very real emotions on display." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post