Høyere enn himmelen (1993)
In the wake of the Norwegian film tradition of the 1980s and 1990, with its stilted dialogues and often unnatural interpersonal relations, comes this offbeat coming-of-age film written by Klaus Hagerup and directed by Berit Nesheim (later of Søndagsengler, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1997). The basic premise is a good way to start: A grumpy, rebellious 12-year-old (Inger Lise Winjevoll), feeling alienated from both her family and her classmates, finds herself intrigued by an eccentric and volatile retired teacher (Harriet Andersson), and the two develop an unorthodox friendship. The interplay between Winjevoll and Andersson has an edge to it which makes the first half of the film both intriguing and at times very funny. They are both perfectly cast, and despite some contrived emotional outburst which are clearly added to create drama, their relationship has integrity. Unfortunately, the script's turning-point and ending is hopelessly written and so full of cliches and improbabilities that it almost negates everything the film has achieved up until then, and the final twenty minutes or so are almost unwatchable. Henrik Scheele is superbly funny as the father.