- Written by
- Mark Raso
- Directed by
- Mark Raso
- Gethin Anthony and Frederikke Dahl Hansen
An obnoxious American tourist learns some useful life lessons from a younger Danish woman in Copenhagen, a well-crafted, deliberately uncomfortable first feature from Canadian-born writer-director Mark Raso.
William (Gethin Anthony) is on an extended European tour with his best buddy. His long-term plan is to get to Copenhagen, to deliver a letter in Danish from his late father to a grandfather he has never met. But first, fun and games: Along the way, William plans to get drunk and sleep with as many women as possible.
The trouble is, William's travelling buddy Jeremy (Sebastian Armesto) is cramping his style, having fallen for an English woman (Olivia Grant) who calls William "the most pathetic man I've ever met." Jeremy and his new love split for England, leaving William to fend alone.
One morning at breakfast, William meets a young waitress named Effy (Frederikke Dahl Hansen), and after a fractious start, they become friends. She agrees to serve as his translator and guide in his efforts to find his grandfather. Effie is sweet, sensible and adventurous, and clearly everything the prickly, angry William needs. The only problem is, she's 14, exactly half his age.
That makes things complicated and, for the viewer, potentially creepy (it's a long way from Woody Allen's Manhattan to Copenhagen). But Raso handles the material with considerable tact, and the groundedness of the acting turns this into something more than a sexual taboo story. As William and Effy bicycle through the fairy-tale streets of Copenhagen, there's a feeling the story is William's identity journey, with Effy as his shaman guide.
Both performances are nuanced. English actor Anthony (Game of Thrones) does nothing to make his jaded-hipster character seem especially likeable, but as we learn the numerous familial reasons for William's anger, he becomes more vulnerable and more sympathetic.
And 19-year-old Danish actress Hansen, with her husky voice and guileless manner, is both an old soul and an adolescent coping with her own issues. In the end, Copenhagen is a love story, though not necessarily under the classification of sex or even romance – just an intimate moment of recognition between kindred spirits.