Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Simon and the Oaks": Low-Rent Spielberg Set in Sweden 

Wednesday, Oct 17 2012
Comments

Lisa Ohlin's Simon and the Oaks has all the superficial elements of compelling drama but none of the interiority; it looks like a good movie without ever actually feeling like one. Try to imagine low-rent Spielberg set in Sweden: whimsical children with intertwined fates, Nazis looming on the horizon, and even the slightest hint of the fantastical amid the soft-focus '40s milieu. In a way, it's not unlike The Intouchables: another country's version of middlebrow awards-bait that gets exported to America despite already being Hollywood-inflected to begin with. In expending so much energy on aping the conventions of prestige pictures, though, it never gets around to simply telling a good story. Simon's is a familiar tune, and one we've heard performed better before — which is a shame, given its opportunity to fill the cinematic void that is Scandinavia's comparatively overlooked involvement in World War II. Ohlin's film tends to relegate its most interesting aspects to the background, its mind always elsewhere (most often a forced authenticity in capturing its period setting) when it comes time to imbue its characters and incidents with the import their appearances imply.

Tags: , ,

About The Author

Michael Nordine

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • San Francisco Street Food Festival 2014
    The San Francisco Street Food Festival was another success this year. Dozens of vendors with original, unheard-of creations, such as deep fried mac and cheese on a stick, black pea paste pancakes, and Korean quesadillas. Then there was the comfort foods we've grown accustomed to, like creme bruleé, shrimp rolls, and pound cake. Photographs by Mabel Jimenez.
  • Paul McCartney @ Candlestick Park
    Thursday, August 15th marks the last concert at Candlestick Park. Who better to close out the venue than Sir Paul McCartney. Photographs by Sugarwolf.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed