Published May 06, 2011Born into a family of privilege, AnneMette was raised in the vacuum of entitlement, given every luxury and elitist status symbol, socialized to believe that she was genuinely a better person than the entire working class. Now, decades later, the fortune is gone and this self-proclaimed princess spends her days living in a small apartment in Portugal, with her mother and only a small pension as a form of income.
Eva Mulvad's tragicomic documentary opens with AnneMette attempting to plunge a toilet with a mop, endlessly yammering about how someone like her should never have to do such menial work. She goes on to verbally assault her mother, stating that she was raised to inherit money, not work for it, and therefore shouldn't be expected to assist in their current financial straits. Since this is a woman in her 50s, occasionally bartering with a local grocer to pay later for toilet paper, it's difficult not to be flabbergasted by her disposition, which is where The Good Life thrives.
Sharply observing class system distinctions and the exaggerated solipsism that a pampered life of learned entitlement inflict on a child during their formative years, this deeply engrossing Danish documentary passively observes a woman genuinely unaware of her limitations and ignorance. She'll spend five minutes actively insulting her mother, relentlessly bitching about the loss of their fortune, and then look to the camera and talk about how much she hates to see her mother upset. It's insane, but unsurprising given the gradual detailing of AnneMette's unique blend of logic.
Styled with a melancholic score and stationary inserts of landscape and local imagery, this unique depiction of an unhealthy mother-daughter dynamic plays out as a narrative with characters far more nuanced and set in their uncensored comfort zones than anything anyone could create in a manufactured story.
Muland's documentary has captured not only the intimate specificities of a relationship, but also the implicit folly of raising people in sheltered vacuity. (TV2)