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Film Review: “Pure” (2009) ★★★★


The well written music won’t help anyone find a new meaning in life unless you feel its every note. Katarina is a 20-year-old troubled young woman whose life contains nothing but full of unfortunate tragedies that began in her early life. But one fine day she finds something that makes her smile and be more hopeful about her future – Mozart’s music. That even helps distance herself from a stressful life, drugs, and a mother, who is far from a role model. But will Katarina be able to hold the chance in order to pull herself out of a disastrous life is something that she perhaps could do, if she would not let Mozart move from her head to blood.

Pure (original title, “Till det som är vackert”) is one of those films that brings music as a great example to change someone’s life, unless you abuse it. Film begins with Katarina from whom you will find out about her countless relationships and drug abuse that is slowly taking her life away from her. She even tells her mother that in order not to end up being like her, if she fails to fix her life, she will kill herself. That’s not very pleasant to say to a parent, however, when we find her mother drunk all the time, and using drugs, you realize that the young girl had no other life to refer to as a good example, other than the one she has now.

Soon, she hears a beautiful music that brings her to a concert hall where the big preparation for Mozart’s Requem is about to begin. After hearing the first tune, our heroine realizes that there is something better than the life she has, and is fascinated by Adam (Samuel Fröler), a famous conductor who closely starts teaching her music. Soon those lessons advance from his office to his house, and afterwards in his bedroom. This is when the biggest transformation of Katarina begins, when she becomes a less aggressive person, lovable woman, and determined about her future. However, in order to change her life, she needs to become the same person in her personal life as well, from the one she tries to escape.

Lisa Langseth, who also wrote the screenplay, introduces you to a quite an interesting solution in order to fix broken life. Katarina, played by very gifted Alicia Vikander (Testament of Youth, The Danish Girl), is a very complex personality whose life changes completely after hearing Mozart. She has a boyfriend, Mattias (Martin Wallström) who tries to support her while the other young men would have stayed away from her. With her new passion for music, she finds her new self which I must say is beautiful and meantime, extremely terrifying. Seeing how one nobody from yesterday becomes somebody today is certainly a great achievement in character study. However, one thing you will certainly dislike is the radical solution that Langseth offers is quite difficult to agree.

In spite that, Pure is very sad, disturbing, and somewhat frightening movie to watch. Probably it’s partially because of the story line, if not completely. This is what usually happens in real life, or, it’s Alicia Vikander who as usually with her great performance breathes a new life to any character she performs. She literally manages to disappear in Katarina’s skin, allowing her to rule the entire film like it’s something real happening there. In the end, Pure won’t leave you disappointed if you like arthouse type films where there is no joy, much happiness, but a person, who is willing to do anything to change their life. And that anything means absolutely everything….

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