In the Norwegian drama All the Beauty, David, a successful Swedish writer, has invited his old girlfriend, the Danish gynecologist Sarah, to help him finish his new play, which is about their decades-long, off-and-on relationship. Given that David’s biggest bestseller was a tell-all that revealed Sarah’s sex life in every intimate detail, Sarah is understandably wary.
As Sarah reads each act of David’s play, we see the two in vignettes at the ages of 23, 33 and 43. At 23, they meet and jump in bed in the full flush of a new romance – and Sarah sets a pivotal ground rule for their relationship. At 33, there is another defining moment when they have the chance for a reset. At 43, the two face another crossroad. And we are our choices (and the choices of those we love).
Different sets of actors play David and Sarah at the ages of 23, 33, 43 and 53. Cinequest fans will recognize the 43-year-old David – Kristoffer Joner, who starred in The Wave at last year’s festival.
It’s not all Scandinavian darkness. Some very funny jokes about yoga, of all things, get the audience engaged right away. And then there’s the awkwardly naked jogger, too.
All the Beauty is the first feature director and co-writer Aasne Vaa Greibrokk and her co-writer Hilde Susan Jægtnes. The two have crafted an insightful exploration of female sexuality and the power within relationships – all with a very novel story structure. The Wife enjoyed it, too, at Cinequest. Recommended.