🇸🇪 ANXIOUS PEOPLE 🇸🇪
Anxious People aka Folk med ångest (2021) is a Swedish miniseries new on Netflix. Comedy, crime, drama and mystery. 6 episodes 23-34 min. Cert 15 U.K. In Swedish with English subtitles and dubbing available.
“A failed bank robber locks himself in a home, along with a real estate agent, two IKEA addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal millionaire and a rabbit.” IMDb
Marika Lagercrantz as Anna-Lena
Lottie Ejebrandt as Estelle
Leif Andrée as Roger
Anna Granath as Zarah
Per Andersson as Lennart (The Bunny)
Elina Du Rietz as Linda
Carla Sehn as Julia
Sascha Zacharias as Liv Holmberg
Alfred Svensson as Jack
Dan Ekborg as Jim
Petrina Solange as Ro
Shia Niavarani as Hairdresser
Sofia Ledarp as Maria
Writer: Fredrik Backman
Director: Felix Herngren
Composer: Adam Nordén
Editor: Henrik Källberg
Production Designer: Bengt Fröderberg
Costume Designer: Madeleine Tor
Stunt Coordinator: Peter Lundberg
Anxious People is based on the book of the same name by Fredrik Backman. He has also written the novels Beartown, Britt-Marie Was Here and A Man Called Ove all of which have been made into films or series.
Familiar faces will include:
Marika Lagercrantz (Millenium, Modus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Leif Andrée (The Sandhamn Murders, Solsidan, Real Humans), Anna Granath (A Man Called Ove), Elina Du Rietz (Jordskott, Gåsmamman, Solsidan), Carla Sehn (Love & Anarchy, Älskar mig, The Sandhamn Murders), Sascha Zacharias (Rebecka Martinsson, Beck, Modus), Alfred Svensson (The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared), Petrina Solange (Bonus Family).
Having watched film adaptations of some of Fredrik Backman’s novels I reckon I am fairly familiar with his style. All of his stories seem to involve “ordinary” people or at least people who initially appear to be ordinary. They have humour and a tenderness mixed in with social and other issues. Never heavy-handed and always leaving food for thought after the laughter fades. In this respect, Anxious People is no different and anyone expecting a straight comedy will not be getting what they anticipated.
This next statement of mine may raise some eyebrows but the show that immediately leapt to mind while watching Anxious People was When the Dust Settles. As with the latter show, people are caught up in a unique incident. From there the story spins out to focus on individuals and their relationships with each other; some existing before the hostage situation and others forming as a result of it. Being part of a unique and stressful event sets everyone apart somewhat. This series is however not about a catastrophically violent weaponised attack where people have died.
The performances in Anxious People are uniformly good with great comedic timing and delivery. Kudos also to the editor who did not kill these on the cutting room floor. The music is perfect and fits well with each scene we watch, enhancing humour and pathos.
Parts of this miniseries are laugh out loud funny. There is a great running gag about Jack’s haircut and it plays a lot with farce. I liked the deliberate use of clichés you see in dramas such as the one where two characters move towards each other across a table in a dramatic scene with the camera focusing on each of them and a lot of intense staring. The hostage scenes are also often extremely funny and who would have thought a guy in a rabbit/bondage outfit could be both hilarious and serious.
There are a few themes that struck me while watching Anxious People. One was that of fear, not only the most recent obvious fear of death or injury but also the fear that haunts everyday people in their everyday lives. The fear that one will not be a good parent, the fear of moving on, the fear of speaking truths and reading letters that have been left to you.
Another theme that struck me forcibly is that of what is it that makes people commit crimes and at what point should those crimes be ignored or forgiven. Ultimately this story asks big moral questions through a small focus lens. There are other moral dilemmas to be faced as well.
Guilt and its power over people are also explored. Family relationships of various forms and how love can heal, restore and allow for forgiveness is clearly shown.
Gosh, this makes this show sound like it is heavy going, it is not. These themes are woven throughout an entertaining storyline with a wide variety of characters. As I mentioned before, there is a LOT of humour in Anxious People. I love slapstick, farce and the absurd and these all figure so this did not disappoint. Will all the jokes and humour land? Quite possibly not, as humour is cultural but it worked for me.
I wrote near the start “Never heavy-handed and always leaving food for thought after the laughter fades.” As such I can recommend Anxious People as both a funny and thought-provoking watch.
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