Iceland is no exception when it comes to the opioid crisis gripping the Nordic countries, and of course, the U.S., as we speak. When I was younger (I was born in 1980) we only had what we called ‘disco-drunks.’ Those were people that used cocaine, amphetamines and other products to keep them alert enough to continue drinking heavily. Icelanders have made movies about these drunks. ‘Blossi’ is probably the most notable attempt to capture the ‘90s rave generation that also popped drugs like ecstasy while they danced to the heavy beats of Underworld. Since then, we haven’t really documented the miserable reality of junkies even though lot has changed in the world of drugs.
‘Let Me Fall’ (“Lof Mér Að Falla”) is the third full length film directed by Baldvin Z, the second one is the Icelandic smash hit, ‘Life in a Fishbowl.’ The story in ‘Let Me Fall’ is about two teenage girls, that become lovers and find ease in drugs. Not because they have had a bad childhood, not because they were subjected to violence as children, or worse. They are just human, curious and looking for something more. Something fun.
Instead of solely focusing on the young and fascinating girls in their slow, dreamy and druggie decline, we also follow them into the future. Where one is battling fiercely with her own conscience, while the other one has converted into the shadow figure of the injection drug addict. This is a very powerful approach to the story, and unveils the true horror of their past, while telling both stories simultaneously. One of the girls has to deal with a lifelong addiction, while the other is a recovering addict and must make peace with her own actions as a junkie. A grim showdown is inevitable.
What is truly astonishing about the movie, is how well acted it is. The two main characters are played by young women with no prior acting experience. They execute their parts almost immaculately. The older characters are in the hands of very experienced actors, and it is safe to say that Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir is absolutely stunning in her role as the main character, Magnea, in her older years.
The incredible performance of all the actors is obviously the work of a very skilled director, as Baldvin Z has proven to be. He shows us a very compelling, natural image of the life of young troubled teens. He also shows us the the difficult pregnability of the parents, and their heartbreaking fight to save their child. My eyes filled with tears when Magnea’s father (played by Þorsteinn Bachmann), makes his last tragic attempt to save his daughter’s soul.
Before life truly began
This movie is a rare gem where everything comes together; actors, music, story and cinematography. Combined you’ll find a moving story that tells a story you can find all over the world. ‘Let me fall’ is an unpretentious and raw modern cautionary tale about a danger that lurks in every society and effects us all. It tells its story with respect for those that have lived this nightmare and survived, and for those who died before their lives truly began.
See “Let Me Fall” with English subtitles at Háskólabíó
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