Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Writer Astrid Lindgren (née Ericsson) is famous the world over for creating the indefatigable Pippi Longstocking, the tenacious, free-spirited character beloved of children everywhere. What is revelatory about Pernille Fischer Christensen’s vibrant biopic focusing on Lindgren’s life between the ages of 16 and 21 is that it shows Pippi’s moxie was not created out of whole cloth—Lindgren herself lived as unorthodoxly and individualistically as the fictitious Pippi, and paid a price for it.
After a tough childhood on the family farm in 1920s Sweden, the energetic and decidedly nonconformist 18-year-old Astrid Ericsson (a riveting Alba August, daughter of director Billie) breaks free of farmhand drudgery and goes to work as an intern for Reinhold Blomberg (Henrik Rafaelsen), the editor of the local paper. Soon, she is pregnant by him, a married man. Her decision to have the child leads to hardship and morale-testing times that change the young woman into the indomitable force that went on to literary fame.
"Gorgeous… With a vibrant performance from fresh-faced Alba August as the lead, Becoming Astrid… makes one eager for more episodes from Lindgren’s astonishingly unconventional life… Christensen takes to period filmmaking like a duck to water, and brings to it an uncommon energy. Erik Molberg Hansen’s dynamic, natural-light, widescreen lensing is full of visual interest and matches the sweep of Nicklas Schmidt’s lush string score… [while] Linda Janson’s cool-toned production design reveals reams of sociological information…"—Alissa Simon, Variety