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  Diana's Wedding Old New Borrowed And Very Blue
Year: 2020
Director: Charlotte Blom
Stars: Marie Blokhus, Pål Sverre Hagen, Jannike Kruse, Olav Waastad, Ina Marie Wilmann, John Emil Jorgensrud, Nader Khademi, Maja Beitrusten Berge, Celine Kathe Foster Engen, Linn Bjorvik Groder, Eli Anne Linnestad, Anne Marie Ottersen
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Liv (Marie Blokhus) and Terje (Pål Sverre Hagen) were married on the same day that Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married, back in 1981, though there were marked differences between the couples otherwise. The Norwegian couple already had a baby, named Diana after the Princess, and instead of moving into a palace they moved into suburban Norway where they played out a volatile relationship in front of their ever-growing daughter. Their neighbours were Unni (Jannike Kruse) and Olav (Olav Waastad), a far squarer couple than they were: Unni was immediately jealous that they had decided to name their child Diana when the Princess was her favourite celebrity, but they did not know they were going to make friends for life...

Although it clocked in at under an hour and a half, Diana's Wedding packed a lot into its running time, reaching from 1981 to 2020, though obviously completed before the pandemic hit because there's a big social gathering for the finale and no mention of anyone getting ill (though the first scene opens with someone having a coughing fit, it's nothing to do with Covid-19, being set decades before). Resembling at times a Norwegian answer to Mike Leigh's television play Abigail's Party with all the social airs and graces and embarrassments and letdowns that would involve, director and co-writer Charlotte Blom was nothing if not ambitious, though she did not go too far in evoking the time periods in question, preferring subtle makeup changes instead of production design.

Aside from mentions of Princess Diana, leading up to the inevitable (though to its credit you do forget that until the shock for the characters), there were no slavish pop culture references, it was more the personalities and ups and downs of a long marriage that were the focus here. As Diana grows older, she begins to feel disdain for her parents and their petty ways, she even doubts they actually love one another given their regular arguments, some of which she instigates herself, albeit naively. Our first stop after '81 is 1990, then 1997 (for the obvious) and lastly the wedding of the title for 2020, and we are asked whether Liv and Terje really do feel any affection even after a few years of marriage, which we are invited to wonder is the case with any marriage we may be a part of or know, which is somewhat presumptuous as if this one was representative of every one.

This was ostensibly a comedy, therefore we were treated to some broad examples of Norwegian humour which were not always hilarious, but did hit the target sometimes with a big laugh - Kruse was valuable in that regard, often stealing scenes from under her co-stars' noses as Unni's weakness seems to be a tipple that will throw her much sought after respectability out of the nearest window. But Blokhus and Hagen were offered the lion's share of the drama, and a lot of the comedy too, often in the same sequence: witness how Terje's secret holiday trip to a strip show winds up being exposed by Diana who was spying on him, and how Liv's reaction is initially amusing, then, well, not so amusing - then back to funny again. The universality Blom was evidently hankering after appeared to be reaching for a conclusion of acceptance to love your parents no matter how embarrassing or just plain wrong they can be, which may be aiming for something general in the highly personal, but it was a decent attempt and brightly played with it. Also: look at the size of that rabbit - you half expect to see it in the wedding at the end. Music by Ginge Anvik.

Aka: Dianas bryllup

[Diana's Wedding will be available on Digital Download from 19th July 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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