Britt-Marie Was Here Feels Familiar And That’s Just Fine

Sometimes going the distance means learning the difference between a tag and a scrawl.

What’s so bad about feeling good? The question is vexed, but the answer remains “not a damned thing,” especially in our current hellscape. Tuva Novotny’s warm comedy Britt-Marie Was Here is based on a novel by the author of A Man Called Ove, and Britt-Marie revisits many of Ove’s themes. For 40 years, 63-year-old Britt-Marie (Pernilla August) has cleaned and cooked for her neglectful, soccer-obsessed husband Kent (Peter Haber). When she discovers Kent has been unfaithful, Britt-Marie strikes out on her own, eventually landing at a dilapidated youth center in the backwater burg of Borg. There, she bears the bad news of having to become the coach of the local moppets’ soccer team, while the attentions of kindly local cop Sven (Anders Mossling) suggest that perhaps Britt-Marie’s romantic life still has some gas left. Nearly every element in Britt-Marie Was Here feels familiar, down to the subplot of the evil rich person wanting to close down a youth center — cf. Electric Boogaloo: Breakin’ 2, and countless others — or a very unqualified protagonist using their seemingly unrelated talents to save the day, but that’s because the elements work. The wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented on every turn, and an ending that was good enough for Rocky is good enough for Britt-Marie Was Here.

Not rated. Opens Friday at the Landmark Opera Plaza.

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