Director: Jimmy Olsson
Writer(s): Jimmy Olsson
Cast: Eva Johansson, Madeleine Martin
Synopsis: A disabled woman’s assistant creates a Tinder for her.
Alive from Swedish filmmaker Jimmy Olsson (2nd Class) takes on the issue of the need and the want for intimacy for anyone. Victoria (Eva Johansson) is a disabled woman who has never felt the true nature of love. She lives alone, other than her live-in assistants. We don’t know about her family or really anything else about her, but that she spends day after day with Ida (Madeleine Martin).
From the opening scene, you are drawn into this film as Olsson does such a powerful job showcasing the dependency on Victoria. When Ida creates a Tinder profile for her, you truly can see how this is the first time she has been able to make her own decisions and choices. She doesn’t see people for who they might be but tries to figure out who they are.
What is done so well in this film is the use of Tinder to get the message of the film across. This short is about faces and the thoughts we put with faces. For Victoria, all people see is a disability and not the person underneath. The person who wants love and to feel something more intimate than the care she is given daily. She is not jealous of Ida because she has a handsome boyfriend, she is jealous of Ida because of the emotional and physical connection she is able to share with another person. One of the scenes that really hit me was when it cut back and forth between Ida and Victoria both in bed. Where Ida gets to experience love and passion, Victoria has to be helped throughout. This scene is a direct contrast and shows the freedoms that people with disabilities do not get to endure.
The cinematography and score help to establish a perception to the audience of what they believe is happening. When Victoria makes plans to meet with the guy from Tinder, everyone knows what is bound to happen. But we are never shown that side of it. We are stuck with Ida outside of the facility and forced to watch as she frantically paces back and forth as the score begins to power through. From the few chances, Ida and the audience gets to look at the picture of the man who is coming over he does look like a creep, and we are given that impression based on how he looks. We put him in this box, which is exactly what the film is trying to teach us not to do. We begin to worry for Victoria when she might not need anyone to worry about her. We see from the final line of this movie, that there is no difference between Victoria and Ida. Both humans and both wanting to try new things. Victoria tried something we can only assume she has never done before and is not upset or mad about it. In reality, she delivers the funniest line from the film and manages to leave the audience with a sigh of relief, but also with a feeling of regret for ever doubting her in the first place. Eva Johansson acts the hell out of this movie, and this subtle happiness and fulfillment might have been her best work from the film.
Final: This film is about how everyone is longing for love, even people in the most difficult of situations. A film that shows the freedoms that most people are able to have, and the lack of freedoms some are forced to have. Victoria might be physically disabled, but it doesn’t mean she is emotionally, and this message shows there is always more to someone than what is on the surface. There is a want for love and passion that is not secluded to any group of people but broadly spread across humanity as a whole. Olsson’s ability to captivate you in such a short time is astounding, as you feel like you have only seen such a small sliver of this woman’s life. A powerful and honest work from a writer/director I long to see more from.
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.