'Psychobitch' movie review

'Psychobitch' movie review: This Norwegian romantic school drama will win you over with its characters

Movie still (@schlingelpress Twitter)

Director: Martin Lund
Cast: Jonas Tidemann, Elli Rhiannon Müller Osbourne
Score: 3.5/5

School is where most teenagers around the world first experience the idea of romantic love. As they slowly grow into adults, they, like birds, learn to grow away from being attached to their parents and begin taking decisions of their own. But not everything works out like a walk in the park, does it?

Marius is a middle schooler in Norway, a poster boy for being an achiever who is heaped with praise at every turn. By all means, he has a perfect life, till he unintendedly tears it apart himself by suggesting a study group, which pairs him up with the troublesome Frida. Exposed to her peculiarities, Marius discovers a side of himself he never knew as their relationship grows from irritable co-eds to friends to perhaps something more.

Psychobitch deserves prime praise for use of its characters, first of all. Martin Lund clearly fully understands whose story he is telling. These students are not adults, they’re moody teenagers, who are ruled by hormones and feelings above all. This is particularly true for Marius and Frida, who by far are the most opposite pair. But in this polarity exists harmony, for the differences between the two paves the way for a greater whole.

Marius spends most of the film burdened by his successes. His family uses him as a game to see how good his English is, while his father alone heaps praise upon praise upon him. Frida, however, has a far different reputation, as her peculiarity and suicide attempts land her in a mixed spectrum of mockery and sympathy from her classmates. Yet as these two come together against their wishes, with sparks of irritation between them, you can’t help but feel amused at the idea of where their relationship will go.

This is Psychobitch’s greatest merit, in letting the two grow close at their own pace. Marius and Frida really start to come together after a brief misunderstanding about stalking, and from there the two become as one. They learn their love for dancing, create a signature phrase for themselves and land in trouble. The whole arc of their coming together is just beautiful.

Yet they are teenagers, who know not the idea of consequences – particularly Marius, who has been basically perfect all his life, and the impact shows as he begins to shun himself from his friends, family and even Frida. It is in this conflict that both Tidemann and Osbourne show the extent of their acting skills, being thoroughly convincing – be it in their unity as in their conflict.

Covering the whole of the film is a small element of chaos. Be it through Frida, Marius or anyone else, the chaos in the film shows itself. It creates the disarray that rules the teenagers, spiraling all towards a clash that may well end anyone’s world (and it comes particularly close for Frida), but it is through this chaos that the characters and the film find some semblance of order and peace, however uncertain it might be. 

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