When a sexually charged Danish girl crosses paths with an embittered American man, it soon becomes obvious that true love is not necessarily what they thought.
Mark Raso’s premiere feature film, Copenhagen, tells the tale of William (Gethin Anthony) and Effy (Frederikke Dahl Hansen), two very ordinary young people seeking their way in the world. It all begins when William travels to Copenhagen with his friend Jeremy (Sebastian Armesto) in order to deliver a letter to the paternal grandfather he’s never met.
Unfortunately, he has four very big problems at the outset. The first is that his absentee father wrote the letter in Danish, which William doesn’t understand. Second, William’s father is deceased and can’t translate the letter. Third, William has no idea where his grandfather lives, and fourth, Jeremy runs off with his girlfriend leaving William stranded in a country he has no way of navigating.
By chance, William finds a hotel, manages to check in, and gets something to eat and drink at the hotel restaurant. His waitress is Effy, an edgy and very beautiful woman. After a troubling start, the two hit it off, discovering they have much in common, family and personality-wise (plus, they’re both prone to immense fabrication).
Luckily, the very resourceful Effy is very willing to help William find his grandfather. It’s at this juncture that William encounters his fifth and sixth problems: the woman of his wildest cravings admits to being A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD CHILD!!!, and he’s fallen hopelessly in love with the girl, for the very first time in his messed up life.
If all of this reads like a massive soap opera, you’ll be pleased to discover that you’re sorely mistaken. What you’ll find instead is the most swiftly moving 98-minutes of the purest cinematic magic imaginable—cloaked in the fabric of gritty, human existence.
Usually, when reviewing a movie, it’s very easy for me to see both strengths and weaknesses— but every so often I’ll discover staggering excellence. In my opinion, Copenhagen is flawless in its narration, technicality, action and silence. Everything about the film pulsates illusion and stark realism in equal measure— even down to Copenhagen’s gingerbread-architecture juxtaposed against the starkness of surrounding landscape and societal detachment.
What’s especially notable in Mark Raso’s writing is its symbolism, ever so subtly illuminated in the universal language and faces of his actors. Pay particular attention to the final scene, where William stands alone at a crossroad, looking across the water at his now beloved, Copenhagen.
Needless to say, I strongly recommend Copenhagen as one of those very rare movies that will change your life for the best—and then some.