“Comedy Queen”, an unfinished teen movie about mourning

“Comedy Queen”, an unfinished teen movie about mourning

A teenage movie about mourning and the power of humor that is not completely accomplished.

After family dysfunction and sibling rivalries (My Skinny Sister), the Swede Sanna Lenken is once again filming a family story, here a story hampered by the loss of one of its members (a mother who committed suicide).

The film begins shortly after the drama and takes as its main witness Sasha, 13, who refuses to cry and longs only for the normality of a quiet life. Refusal is also part of its new mode of operation. To get away from the character of her depressed mother and prevent this cursed heritage that is filiation, the little girl has set herself a list of things not to do, at the risk of resembling her too much. No more reading books, not taking care of a living being, becoming the queen of comedy (in the hope of bringing a smile to an inconsolable father)…

A film that misses its subject

Adapted from the eponymous youth novel by Swedish author Jenny Jagerfeld, comedy queen first unfolds like those US indie teen movies with their recognizable tics (the omnipresence of a voiceover, scribbled writing appearing on the screen). The film is held first by a game of dissonances between the prettiness of its images (cuteness of this colored bubble) and its subject, as well as the pugnacity of its young heroine (Sigrid Johnson, always in measure).

comedy queen has some good ideas on the subject of grief, especially on the materiality of grief and sadness, but also on the saving catharsis of words and humor. However, he ends up succumbing to his logic of avoidance when he brings back, in subliminal flashbacks to the too licked image, the ghost of the mother, this impossible off-screen which gave all its weight to this unconsumed sadness.

Above all, the film seems encumbered by the challenge of its title (to become the queen of comedy) as this vocation seems artificial (falsified writing sequences, driven by a duty of explanatory illustration) in the face of the grip of denial , the real subject of the film.

comedy queen by Sanna Lenken, with Sigrid Johnson, Oscar Töringe, Anna Bjelkerud (Sweden, 1 h 33). In theaters November 2.

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