Atlantic Crossing: A Non-Spoiler Review

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Poster for Atlantic Crossing


Atlantic Crossing (2020) is a multinational historical drama production available at present on Sky Drama and U.K. TV in the U.K., PBS Masterpiece USA & Canada; SBS OnDemand Australia. 8 x 53-58 minute episodes. Rated 14. In Norwegian, English, Danish, and German with embedded English subtitles.


“A princess steals the heart of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II and changes the face of world politics.” IMDb


Kyle MacLachlan as President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Sofia Helin as Crown Princess Märtha
Tobias Santelmann as Crown Prince Olav
Søren Pilmark as King Haakon Vll
Anneke von der Lippe as Ragni Østgaard
Lasse Kolsrud as Nikolai, Olav’s Adjutant
Harriet Sansom Harris as Eleanor Roosevelt
Daniel Betts as Harry Hopkins
Lucy Russell as Missy LeHand
Suzanne Bertish as Florence Harriman
Amathea Eik as Princess Astrid
Leonora Eik as Princess Ragnhild


Writers: Alexander Eik, Linda May Kallestein, Paul Minx (based on an idea by)
Directors: Alexander Eik, Janic Heen
Composer: Raymond Enoksen
Cinematographer: Carl Sundberg
Editor’s: Silje Nordseth, Morten Rørvig
Costume Designer: Karen Fabritius Gram



Czech Republic and Norway


I do love a good historical drama and try hard to follow my own advice of not getting too hung up on the factual accuracy since it’s “not a documentary” and it is primarily designed to entertain. Some dramas are easier than others in this respect not least because ignorance truly can equal bliss (I studied American history as part of my university degree). So, this was my mindset before starting to watch Atlantic Crossing.

Having watched the whole 8 episode series I found there was much to like about it. My favourite episodes were the three at the start and the finale – I liked the finale a lot.

The initial episodes set in Norway before, during and immediately after the Nazi invasion of what was a neutral country were very effective. The dramatic contrast between life before and life during and after was very well handled. Likewise, the finale had an emotional impact and the use of real footage and photographs really helped enhance this.

It was the episodes after and leading up to the finale that I sometimes struggled with more than I wanted to. As I said at the start, I do try to put aside what I know, but at times that was difficult. I was also unsure of the need for a romance to push forward how influential Märtha may have been during her time in the US. It made for quite an interesting, albeit slightly soap opera-like storyline. Having Märtha appear at times somewhat self-centred and oblivious as to the enormous sacrifices being made by other women and their menfolk at the time sat rather uncomfortably for me. Likewise Olav’s petty jealousy, whilst making for a nice bit of dramatic conflict seemed very… well… petty.

I do also have to admit to some eye-rolling and sighing at the supposed influence Märtha had over FDR on matters such as Lend Lease when he was, without doubt, an astonishingly adept leader and politician. And I’m not sure who this Churchill guy is who got mentioned (briefly) a couple of times. But then we did get real events such as the Nazi landing and the suicide (although the timing was changed for the latter).

The casting in this series seemed perfect to me and the acting was overall fantastic (sometimes despite not because of the script). Kyle MacLachlan played FDR well as did Harriet Sansom Harris as the immensely fun Eleanor. Sofia Helin and Tobias Santelmann had great onscreen chemistry which made them very believable as characters. The supporting cast was all excellent most especially Søren Pilmark, Anneke von der Lippe and Lasse Kolsrud. The child actors were great, I thought.

The costuming in Atlantic Crossing is divine! The attention to detail, the use of colour and materials but also the accuracy and authenticity of, for example, the uniforms (at least as far as my knowledge stretches). The vehicles also added so much to the creation of another time and place.

I thought the direction and cinematography were extremely good. The music — both the original score and the soundtrack — was excellent and greatly enhanced both atmosphere and the sense of time and location.

Overall then I did enjoy Atlantic Crossing and although I had issues with the central part of the story it was undoubtedly both entertaining and helped create what was an emotional finale. It’s a well-structured tale which plays a little fast and loose with facts but, it is a drama, not a documentary. I can see why this series won an International Emmy but I’m not too sure, having watched it and as a Brit why Norway still sends us a Christmas tree every year by way of thanks for the support during World War ll.

Awards: 2 Wins 1 Nomination

International Emmy (2021) TV Movie/Miniseries
Seoul International Drama Awards (2021) Golden Bird Prize – Jury’s Special Prize

Camerimage TV Pilots Competition (2020) Carl Sundberg


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