The Commune

The setting for The Commune is director Thomas Vinterberg’s Copenhagen in the 1970’s and we follow Anna (Trine Dyrholm), a television news anchor married to the emotionally unstable university professor Erik, played by Ulrich Thomsen; and their inverted daughter Freja (Martha Sofie Wallstrom Hansen). Erik discovers that he had inherited his father’s massive mansion so Anna has the idea to invite their friends to move in with them. Thus begins her experiment in relative strangers living together to promote general creativity and a wholesome family experiment. But having created an environment to promote a liberal way of living, it results in her husband beginning an affair with one of his students and inviting her to live in the commune.

This movie lives and dies by Trine Dyrholm’s performance. Without her, this movie would be considered a slightly uneven and rather dull melodrama. The general chemistry between the two leads is what makes this movie. Anna is the energetic young at heart adventurer who almost browbeats her stuffy husband into her experiment which he agrees to goes along with. There is shy and poor Allon (Fares Fares), who sobs at the slightest provocation. The alcoholic Ole (Lars Ranthe), cheery Mona (Julie Agnete Vang), Ditte (Anne Gry Henningsen) and Steffen (Magnus Millang). There’s also a strange young boy who keeps insisting she won’t live past the age of nine.

Unfortunately, while the majority of the movie is focused purely on the family it barely goes into the supporting cast and who they are as people. These people contribute nothing whatsoever and nothing of consequence happens and despite the title, the focus is almost purely on the family and not the community at large. The subplots in the movie that don’t directly involve the core family are poorly handled, oddly restricting anything that isn’t totally focused on the love triangle. This therefore relegates most of the cast to an almost “Greek chorus” style role. Thankfully Dyrhol more or less carries the movie with her restrained performance as she slowly devolves into a boozy breakdown.

The Commune is on limited release now