Joachim Trier's psychological thriller puts you in the head of its telekinetic heroine

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 25 Oct 2017
  • Thelma
Film title: Thelma
Director: Joachim Trier
Starring: Eili Harboe, Kaya Wilkins, Henrik Rafaelsen, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Ludvig Algeback, Isabel Christine Andreasen
Release date: 3 Nov
Certificate: 15

A shy and insecure young woman starting life at an Oslo university, Thelma (Harboe) already has enough anxiety to deal with in her life before she falls in love with a female classmate (Wilkins) and begins suffering debilitating seizures. Things only get worse for Thelma from there, as her repressed emotions and desires begin manifesting as telekinetic powers, leading her to explore her strictly religious upbringing as she searches for answers.

Thelma ultimately gets a little bogged down in backstory in its second half, with too many flashbacks stalling momentum, but when it is focused on the protagonist’s subjective experience, director Joachim Trier’s imaginative framing and editing is as immersive as ever.

This may feel like new territory for the Norwegian director, with its large-scale set-pieces (including a wonderfully suspenseful scene that takes place under a heavy chandelier) and numerous CGI effects, but at its heart Thelma is another perceptive and empathetic character study, with Elie Harboe’s measured lead performance as the complex Thelma marking her out as a new star to watch. [Philip Concannon]

Released by Thunderbird