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Woman at War

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
La mujer de la montaña
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir turns in two terrific performances in this nicely quirky Icelandic eco-drama.

This comedy-drama from Iceland asks some timely biggies about the climate change movement in its story about an ordinary woman with a secret double life as an environmental activist. The film has a bone-dry sense of humour, though the quirk level is turned up just a fraction too high. It’s built around a cracking performance by Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, playing 49-year-old choir teacher Halla, who spends her free time shooting a bow and arrow at electricity pylons in the countryside, causing major power cuts.

The film’s questions are important: is it acceptable to take direct action that disrupts ordinary people’s lives if you believe nothing is being done to prevent the ecological crisis? As a parent, is your biggest responsibility to keep your kids safe in the here and now, or to save the planet from impending climate breakdown?

Halla, who’s single, is plotting her most dangerous stunt yet when her long-standing application to adopt a Ukrainian baby is suddenly accepted. She’s to become the mother of a little girl. So too is her identical twin sister, Ása (also played by Geirharðsdóttir). 

Here the plot gets far-fetched, and the film’s surreal touches make it hard to connect emotionally to Halla. Worst of all are the kooky musicians performing in the background of some scenes. They look like buskers at an organic farmers’ market – beardy, in vintage tweed. I’d cross the road to dodge them in real life, but you just can’t avoid them in a film. 

Written by
Cath Clarke

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 3 May 2019
  • Duration:100 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Benedikt Erlingsson
  • Screenwriter:Benedikt Erlingsson, Ólafur Egilsson
  • Cast:
    • Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir
    • Jóhann Sigurðarson
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