To say that a film is an experience is no small compliment, and ‘Copenhagen’ is definitely an experience. It is a beautiful and well-performed movie that magnificently handles a somewhat controversial and unconventional love story. More than that, it is the type of movie that you cannot help but think about after the fact. Its characters are raw, and its plot and conclusions just don’t go the way you think that they will.
William (Gethin Anthony) and his friend Jeremy (Sebastian Armesto) are traveling across Europe with the goal of ending up in Copenhagen so William can track down the grandfather that he has never met. Jeremy throws a wrench into the trip plans by bringing along his girlfriend, which brings out the nastiness in William’s personality and results in his deciding to undertake Copenhagen on his own. William’s journey leads him to meet Effy, a clever young waitress who not only seeks to help him find his grandfather but to grow up. The only problem is that Effy is 14 years old.
The taboo discussed in the film is handled very well to the point where its reveal is as mortifying/heartbreaking for the audience as it is for William. He himself is mortified when he finds out how young (and unattainable) this life-changing girl is. Throughout the film you get to see William grow up, and it feels real in that the character changes that develop are plausible rather than feeling forced or too movie magical. He doesn’t become a great person just a better one, and it is clear that Effy is to thank. It is a credit to both actors that upon the reveal the viewer is hit with so many conflicting emotions. The notion that this age difference is wrong goes to battle with the hope that the two can end up together somehow.
Beyond the plot and the acting, the cinematography is also incredibly beautiful. The imagery in the film adds depth to the plot and supplements the emotional toll the film extracts throughout.
‘Copenhagen’ is discomforting in the reactions it brings out from a viewer and yet it is nonetheless a captivating watch. There is an amazing realism in its performances, and the questions it hits at are given the sort of ambiguous and uncomfortable treatment they deserve. When the credits roll you may find yourself questioning or redefining things you thought established in your mind.