Sometimes you attempt to make a mental pros and cons list to try and convince yourself in one direction or the other after watching something. Copenhagen was such a film for me. Bike rides through the city. Pro. At times this film loses its steam and flounders a bit. Con.
In truth, the narrative does feel pretty thin when it comes to the main character William trying to track down his grandfather in Copenhagen. William for that matter is a foul-mouthed and generally annoying jerk of an American for most of the film. Also, the weird romantic tension that builds between him and Effy is obviously uncomfortable, but the will-they-won’t-they component is key to the entire narrative. Because essentially this is a film about a grown man finally coming to age, with the help of a very mature 14 year-old girl, who acts as his guide through Denmark.
That being said, the scenery in and around Copenhagen is obviously a lot of fun to partake of, and it truly is the perfect place to ride a bike around, day or dusk. Furthermore, with her husky voice, feisty nature, and winning charm Frederikke Dahl Hansen makes this film with her turn as Effy. True, she’s playing a character quite a bit younger than herself, and yet she succeeds wonderfully and really thrives as the winning force in this film. Because, if we don’t like her this film has little hope of rising above its narrative foibles and the utterly annoying nature of its other main players. Effy makes us like William at least a little tiny bit by the end of this story. And that’s a major compliment to her. To his credit, Gethin Anthony is easy to dislike, but that undoubtedly can be credited to his acting. His character does come around in the end too, not so much because of the quest for his grandpa, but he learns what it is to be a man, and to treat others with the respect they are due. Namely in this case a 14-year old girl, and also is his best bud Jeremy.
So is this a film I would recommend… Yes, but I tried to lay all the cards on the table, because you could easily enjoy this film or just as easily find it disconcerting and tiresome. I fell into both categories at different times, but there were some truly entrancing moments that are hard to forget. Effy is almost hypnotic during her singing session in the bar. And traipsing through an art museum becomes a fascinatingly intimate study of the human form. Perhaps now more than ever Denmark will be on my travel radar, since it looked like an absolute brilliant place to spend a summer.