Gossip: Netflix U.K. ~ Non-Spoiler Review

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Theatrical poster of the film Gossip


🇸🇪 Gossip 🇸🇪

GOSSIP (2000) is a Swedish comedy-drama on Netflix U.K. and Ireland. 2 hr 14 min. 15 Cert U.K. Subtitles available.

Premise:

“Ten actresses test films for the title role of a remake of “Queen Christina”.”

Cast:

Pernilla August as Molly Fischer

Helena Bergström as Stella Lindberg

Stina Ekblad as Eivor Pellas 

Lena Endre as Rebecca Olsson-Frigårdh

Ewa Fröling as Georgina Seth 

Margaretha Krook as Ingrid Seth

Marika Lagercrantz as Karin Kalters

Marie Richardson as Cecilia Falck 

Gunilla Röör as Git Jepsson

Harriet Andersson as Camilla Steen 

Peter Andersson as Tomas Berg 

Brasse Brännström as Rolf Andersson

Peter Haber as Gregor Becklén

Rolf Lassgård as Magnus Wiktorsson

Mikael Persbrandt as Åke Frigårdh 

Crew:

Director: Colin Nutley
Writer: Colin Nutley
Set Design: Bengt Fröderberg
Music: Per Andréasson

Notes:

Colin Nutley is an English director, writer and producer who has been living and working in Sweden since the mid-1980s.

Review:

The obvious and main appeal of Gossip is the immense cast, especially the actresses around whom the stories revolve. This drama-comedy is unconventional in that they are all waiting on a major casting announcement. A major American film producer is looking for a Swedish actress to play the title role in a big-budget remake of the classic Greta Garbo movie Queen Christina.

Gossip opens with clips from the auditions of each actress for the part, clapperboard and all. It is an unusual device and the names on the clapperboards work quite well. The downside is that they are quick and there are a lot of characters to try and recall their names matching faces (yes, I struggled).

Rebecca (Lena Endre), is married to hunky matinee idol Ake (Mikael Persbrandt), and spending her 40th birthday waiting for word on the role. Alexandra (Suzanne Reuter) is due to shoot a TV commercial, to be directed by Rolf (Brasse Brannstrom). Rolf used to be involved with Cecilia (Marie Richardson), who lately is almost as famous for the fact that she is pregnant and will not identify the father. Cecilia appears on a morning chat show with Georgina (Ewa Froling), who used to be in love with Gregor (Peter Haber), Alexandra’s current husband (are you following this?) Stella (Helena Bergstrom) is a lesbian who is having an affair with Karin (Marika Lagercrantz), wife of film director Magnus (Rolf Lassgard). Stella is also starring in Magnus’ latest project, along with Åke and Molly (Pernilla August). Meanwhile, Git (Gunilla Roor) is in a session with her analyst, trying to come to terms with her feelings about her work, and Evior (Stina Ekblad) is in rehearsal for a musical and has reached the conclusion that she can neither dance nor sing.

This brief breakdown shows up one of the difficulties with this film which is following each of the main female characters, their relationships, connections with each other and other (often male) characters. Trying to keep track of who is who, who is doing what with whom and when and where can be quite a trial. This is not helped by the rapid editing between characters and events, especially early on in the film where you are trying to get a bearing on who is who. It reminded me of being shown someone’s family photo album at high speed.

But let’s talk about the things I loved in this film. The performances are invariably outstanding, from the entire cast. There are a couple of scenes that really stand out in my mind. One is a balcony rehearsal scene between Mikael Persbrandt’s character Åre and Helena Bergstrom’s Stella which is breathtaking. Another is a scene where a man is given a newly delivered baby to hold, this I found very moving and beautifully played.

A lot of the comedy in this works well, there are some truly cringeworthy moments and it did have me laughing aloud at some points. Other clever tricks are revolving around “acting” as distinct from “real life”. The drama and the dynamics between characters also work well. Dramatic irony is another device that’s effective here.

Overall I found this movie to be a bit of a disappointment. If it were not for the marvellous performances keeping it afloat I would have jumped ship. I do feel that this could have worked better had there been fewer actress characters involved. It struggles to keep all the balls in the air and to create a cohesive, not excessively complex and confusing storyline. Is it worth the watch? For the performances, yes, but as an overall film experience, I was really not sold.
4.6/10 on IMDb is not, in my opinion, unfair.

Awards:

Gossip received one award nomination for a Guldbagge Best Supporting Actor for the late Brasse Brännstörm

No trailer available but here is an excerpt (no subtitles):

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