SIFF 2024: Solitude (***1/2)

By Dennis Hartley

Ah, look at all the lonely people. Ninna Pálmadóttir’s quiet drama concerns an unassuming farmer named Gunnar (Thröstur Leó Gunnarsson) who reluctantly sells his beloved horses and relocates to Reykjavik after getting pushed off his land by a hydroelectric project. He has received a generous settlement, which enables him to offer cash for a condo.

For Gunnar, moving to the city is tantamount to getting drop-kicked into the 21st Century; he is overwhelmed by the stimuli. He strikes up a sweet friendship with a bubbly 10-year-old paperboy named Ari. The boy’s parents are separated. While they try to share equal time with their son, squabbles arise over scheduling conflicts, frequently leaving Ari in the lurch. As a result, Gunnar becomes his de facto babysitter. Gunnar’s naivety eventually leads to a misunderstanding that could have serious consequences for him. A beautifully acted treatise on the singularly destructive power of “assumption”. 

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