A Hole in My Heart

A Hole in My Heart (2004)
★ / ★★★★

As his father, Rickard (Thorsten Flinck), and his father’s friend, Geko (Goran Marjanovic), shot an amateur pornographic film in their apartment, Eric (Björn Almroth) retreated to his dark room and listened to heavy metal music. “Ett hål i mitt hjärta” aimed to tackle issues like how addiction to pornography could ruin lives but I’m not sure it was successful in doing so in a meaningful way. The picture showed us graphic images of labial reconstruction surgery, S&M in which Tess (Sanna Bråding), a girl from the streets who wanted to be a successful pornographic actress in America, wasn’t informed of, and sex involving food and vomit. But what was it all supposed to mean? With its style of manic editing, the connection between shocking images and the meaning we were supposed to extract from them weren’t established. While it did have quieter moments of Eric wanting to escape his toxic environment but ultimately couldn’t do anything to get away from his father (he didn’t seem to have many friends), it was difficult to sympathize with him at times. For instance, when his dad was sleeping, Eric woke him up and claimed that the kitchen was on fire when it really wasn’t. And when his dad asked for water to drink, Eric took it from the toilet. It was disgusting behavior which was almost unwatchable as Rickard and Geko pressuring Eric to fire an air gun so that he could feel more like a man. I felt humiliated for all of the characters. Just when I felt a glimmer of hope during Tess and Eric’s conversation, the material jumped back to its repetitive technique of barraging its audiences with strong images but with little meaning. Toward the end, a fact was revealed about Rickard which was supposed to explain his fixation toward pornography and violence. However, since the journey toward the revelation was deeply unfocused, it felt more like an excuse than an explanation. “A Hole in My Heart,” directed by Lukas Moodysson, is easy to criticize because of the way it was shot and edited. Perhaps it was done on purpose because it strived to comment on our consumption of reality television. In any case, I don’t mind the technical aspects as much as long as it had a defined center. Its approach was bold and it took some wild risks in attempting to explain how one person’s dysfunction could enable other people’s dysfunction. But without exploring the increasing distance between the tragic characters, especially the lack of bond between father and son, either we don’t feel closer to them in the end or we end up just not caring about them.

4 replies »

  1. I Whole-Heartedly agree!!!! (Sorry)

    Would have given this film 0 stars. Saw it on it’s initial release and just remember being disgusted, and offended at the directors need to deliberately offend (if that makes sense!?)

    It’s unfortunate, because ‘Show me Love’, ‘Together’ and ‘Lilja-4-Ever’ (read nothing about this before watching – NOTHING!) are all outstanding movies, he just seemed to drift into a shitty, over-indulgent, niche direction after those. I’ve got Container and Mammoth in by collection but am just too hesitant to watch them.

    • Hahaha. Nice pun.

      I agree with you–if I did 0 stars, I probably would’ve given it the same. 1/2 a star if I did halves (if I was feeling very generous). It was just a mess.

      I’ve never heard of the movies you mentioned. I’ll look more into them and possibly rent if they’re available on Netflix.

      Recommendations are always welcome! :)

      • Show me love may also be called “Fucking Amal”.

        In order I’d put Lilja Forever (It’s very dramatic/upsetting, but don’t even read a synopsis). Then Fucking Amal/Show Me Love. Then Together. All great though.

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