Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength.
Teddy Bear (2012) is director Mads Matthiesen first feature-length film that was inspired by his 2007 short film Dennis. Kim Kold, the six-foot-plus body builder, makes his acting debut as Dennis, who has trouble dating women due to him not wanting to disappoint his possessive mother (Elisabeth Steentoft). If you have already seen the short, you know that this film is a more elaborate version of Dennis’ quest to find his one true love. The film brings him halfway around the world while allowing him to develop inner strength and confidence in the process.
Dennis is a gentle giant bitten by the love bug. His ultimate goal is to find a woman to love and live happily with her and enjoy his life without any interference from his mother. At 38, he still lives with his mother, mostly from coaxing him into staying with her via guilt trips. After attending the wedding of his Uncle Bent (Allan Mogensen) and meeting Aoi (Sukianya Suwan), his Thai bride, Dennis consults Bent for advice on where to find a woman in Pattaya (one of the bustling cities in Thailand) and embarks on a touching journey filled with misunderstandings and culture shock while searching for the woman of his dreams.
Teddy Bear is mostly a light-hearted film with thoughtful undertones in the difficulty of familiar relationships. Unfortunately, these areas aren’t explored in depth. Kold’s acting is convincing throughout the movie and gives an impressive performance. Dennis is a fantastic character study that aims at the sentimental understanding of the sometimes demanding choices real people may make. The film truly focuses in on his desires and expertly highlights the obstacles that surface in these relationships.
It would have been more interesting to find out the specific details surrounding the details of his mother’s marriage and its detrimental effects on the relationship with her son. One scene, in particular, shows the pair sharing the bathroom–he in the shower; she on the toilet. There was an uncomfortable violation of personal space throughout the film. Also, there were opportunities for discussion on both parts of the mother/son relationship to unravel the mystery, but the opportunity wasn’t explored. Not to say that the interaction between Dennis and his mother are dull; the tension in the conversations was on par with realistic situations.
A significant portion of the film’s focus rests on Dennis’ home life and meeting intimidating women in Thailand before it arrives at substantial plot developments–the film sort of drags a little before the poignant scenes. Especially when Dennis was out touring hectic Pattaya–causing a huge deal of anxiety for him; the Thai girls were overly interested in Dennis’ Herculean physique, putting a damper on his ideals of love.
Dennis and Toi’s (Lamaiporn Hougaard) endearing relationship was engaging to watch. Teddy Bear delves into those tender moments, and an ending that makes all the awkward moments surrounding their relationship worthwhile watching.
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