Persona Non Grata (Hvor kragerne vender) Image

Persona Non Grata (Hvor kragerne vender)

By Andy Howell | April 14, 2021

Director Lisa Jespersen shares a writing credit with Sara Isabella Jønsson Vedde, and this is where Persona Non Grata really shines. The characters are vivid and defined economically without being stereotyped. In many scenes, the characters share only a few lines of incisive dialogue, yet we know exactly where they are coming from and what the drama is. At the same time, the writers are playing with our expectations — there’s often more to the story than we’re initially told. The narrative wraps up satisfyingly, never feeling saccharine or forced. Nobody quite gets exactly what they want; in fact, some come out scarred, but few are the same people at the end as they were at the beginning.

The cast, anchored by Rosalinde Mynster, is superb. Mercifully the film doesn’t suffer from the Hollywood affliction of casting too-good-looking Hollywood carpetbaggers into rural roles. Everyone here is believable and adept enough to land jokes through a language barrier.

“…more profound, more nuanced, and funnier than most takes on the subject.”

The balance between the specific and the universal is noteworthy. The characters wouldn’t work without being so authentically of a place, and yet no matter where you’re from, you know those people. Let’s be honest, the market for a Danish dramatic comedy is fairly small in the United States. This is the kind of film that will play festivals and maybe find a small audience on a streaming service. But it has strong remake potential. The fact that you’d want to adapt the film rather than starting fresh is a testament to just how well written it is.

The characters, the drama, and the humor are all here. With a few topical and location tweaks, and some familiar faces in the cast, this could play to a broad American audience. But don’t wait for that. If you can catch it, watch Persona Non Grata and get the authentic Danish version of personal and family dysfunction woven into an entertaining reflection on how stubbornly and unavoidably different and simultaneously similar we all are.

Persona Non Grata screened at the 2021 Santa Barbara Independent Film Festival.

Persona Non Grata (2021)

Directed: Lisa Jespersen

Written: Lisa Jespersen, Sara Isabella Jønsson Vedde

Starring: Rosalinde Mynster, Anne Sofie Wanstrup, Adam Ild Rohweder, Jens Jørn Spottag, Thomas Hwan, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Persona Non Grata Image

"…an entertaining reflection on how stubbornly and unavoidably different and simultaneously similar we all are."

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