Sometimes the most terrifying discovery is who you really are.
Scandinavian thriller Thelma is not your usual Nordic noir. There are no woolly jumpers or dysfunctional detectives: just a shy teenage student whose unsettling experience of leaving home for university uncorks disturbing supernatural powers within her.
Eili Harboe’s naïve and guileless Thelma has grown up in a deeply conservative Christian family in the sticks. And when she arrives in Oslo she finds herself ill at ease among her laid-back student peers. Most unsettling of all, she struggles to deal with unfamiliar desires, including an attraction to fellow student Anya (singer-songwriter Kaya Wilkins). And as their friendship deepens, she begins experiencing strange seizures that appear to unleash even stranger telekinetic abilities…
Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s intensely compelling film has touches of Carrie, sharing the combustible mix of religion and sexual repression, but without the buckets of blood. Amid all the supernatural weirdness, however, it is the film’s emotional conviction that makes it work so well. And that’s down to Harboe, superb in the lead and possessor of a tingling chemistry with co-star Wilkins.
Certificate 15. Runtime 116 mins. Director Joachim Trier
Thelma is available on Blu-ray & Digital from Thunderbird Releasing and on Digital from MUBI.