‘Thelma’ Trailer: Norway’s Oscar Entry Is a Beautiful Supernatural Thriller
In the most reductive terms, you could describe Thelma (as it was described to me) as Carrie: The College Years. But as the first trailer reveals, Joachim Trier’s latest is much more than that: A love story, a tale of suppressed identity and self-acceptance, a supernatural thriller, and a stirring psychodrama. It’s also Norway’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar. Like the titular protagonist, there’s something different about Thelma.
Trier, who previously directed Oslo August 31 and Louder Than Bombs, returns with a thrilling Norwegian drama about a young woman (Eili Harboe) from a strict religious background who heads to college and struggles to integrate with her peers, until she meets Anja (Okay Kaya). After experiencing a violent and mysterious seizure, Thelma fights to suppress her attraction to Anja, which only exacerbates her strange condition — and reveals some powerful supernatural abilities in the process.
I recently saw Thelma, and it is truly special — a subdued, gorgeous take on a familiar coming of age tale, in which supernatural powers are inextricably linked to a woman’s essential identity. We’ve seen these concepts explored in films like last year’s Raw and yes, Carrie, but not quite like this.
Here’s the full synopsis:
Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo. While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure. Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction. As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja - feelings she doesn’t dare acknowledge, even to herself – while at the same time experiencing even more extreme seizures. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers.
Thelma will have its world premiere this month at TIFF, followed by a US premiere at Fantastic Fest, and a theatrical release on November 10.