Copenhagen Mark Raso
Published Dec 04, 2014Ever since Jesse met Celine in Vienna in 1995 and fell in love over a day of existential navel-gazing in Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, it's been impossible for anyone else to find their soul-mate in Europe quite as well. Two films later and with a trilogy in the bag, it seemed that Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy had exhausted everything worth talking about in winding alleyways, Parisian cafes and Greek hotel rooms. These haunts reoccur in Mark Raso's Copenhagen, in which two people also share a connection in a picturesque European city, but there's a twist that gives this days-long romance a refreshing edge that's less cerebral and more sinister.
Much of Copenhagen's spunk originates from odious protagonist William (Gethin Anthony from Game of Thrones), who is not travelling to find his soul mate but to locate an estranged grandfather, to whom he must pass a letter from his own father. But when his best friend and travelling companion deserts him to visit London with his fiancée, William finds himself alone, lost in Copenhagen, and without the first clue how to track his family down. As he sulks over his bad luck in a café, hunched over a map, a young waitress named Effy (Frederikke Dahl Hansen) spills coffee on William's letter while trying to give him directions. The meeting is less cute than it is horribly uncomfortable, but a connection — though strained — is made, and William enlists Effy's help in finding his grandfather.
As the film's cloying tagline, "When the girl of your dreams is half your age, it's time to grow up" might indicate, Effy is young. So very young. Illegal young. And William's deep-seated horror at this realization contributes much of the tension in the film as he struggles to resist his (illegal) feelings for her. While for most of us it seems there's a clear course of action, it's not every day this misanthrope forges a connection with another human being, especially one who matches his general unpleasantness with maturity and grace. Ultimately, it's a curiosity about this hopeless yet hopeful relationship that urges Copenhagen along, unspooling a story about love, friendship and the purgatory in between.