Didn’t fulfill expectations.
Lisa Langseth‘s Pure (Beloved; Till det som är vackert) is a Swedish tale of a young woman being inspired to pursue a better life because of the beauty of classical music at first glace appears to be an inspiring film filled with a breakthrough moment where the protagonist achieves her higher purpose in life. In a disappointing and cliche turn of events, revealed to contain jumbled plot elements filled with conflict and downward turns in order to create drama. The characters border upon one dimensional and seem to have been constructed in order to fit the mold of other media examples of females seeking revenge against their former lovers. Pure’s script had potential–but didn’t fulfill expectations.
Katarina (Alicia Vikander) is a twenty-year-old woman who was a former local prostitute in town. Her mother is a suicidal alcoholic who believes her daughter to be mentally ill due to her angry outbursts. Matthias (Martin Wallström), her current boyfriend, is satisfied with the stagnant television viewing and partying routine of his daily life. Katarina discovers the beauty of Mozart while searching for videos on Youtube and utilizes this as musical inspiration to strive for a new and better place in Swedish society. While visiting the local performance center, she is mistaken as a candidate for the receptionist position. Through amazing luck, she gets the position and begins a romantic affair with the talented and married conductor Adam (Samuel Fröler).
From the beginning of the film, you sympathize for Katarina. Although she isn’t the most interesting character, it is understood very early on she possibly suffers from a mental illness. It can be seen in her face and body language she isn’t satisfied with her current life and after having a taste of culture for the first time, she wants something much better. Not much is revealed about her past, nor the situations of those surrounding her except bits and pieces of dialogue. Pure feels rushed–the events speed along to reach the intense scenes and the sudden progress in her life fades as quickly as it arrived.
Plot realism is also an issue in Pure, one example being shown with the interview scene. The interviewer didn’t bother to fact check her story and hired her without asking for any additional information. Katarina’s romance with Adam was right out of a fairy tale–if you excuse the infidelity–showing her a brand new world filled with writers and artists she’s never known before. It all hurriedly ended with her seeking revenge and progressed into a rosey ending, but in an unexpected way. The characters aren’t perfect. But are just interesting enough.