Autumn 2015 Features series
Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 4:00pm
Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Dome Karukoski
Screenplay by Dome Karukoski and Tuomas Kyrö
Based on the book by Tuomas Kyrö
Starring Antti Litja, Petra Frey, and Mari Perankoski
Rated NR ·
Finnish /w subtitles
Based on Finnish author Tuomas Kyrö’s popular novel, Dome Karukoski’s The Grump juxtaposes the rural values of yesterday’s Finland with the country’s contemporary urban reality, with alternately hilarious and touching results. The eponymous, unnamed hero (played by legendary Finnish actor Antti Litja) is a stubbornly traditional eighty-year-old farmer who, following a domestic accident, must come to Helsinki and stay with his youngest son, an unemployed New Age sad sack, and his Type A businesswoman daughter-in-law.
From the outset, the new houseguest is hell on wheels. His social attitudes are, at best, prehistoric: he is terrified of change and is generally averse to displaying any emotions save rage and frustration; he freaks out when he is served by a young black woman at a coffee shop; and he is flummoxed by his daughter-in-law’s lavender-scented bathroom. (Lavender, he insists, was used to poison soldiers in the trenches.) Nevertheless, his generosity, dogged independence, and slow-food work ethic contrast vividly, and favourably, with the trendy attitudes and self-absorbed behaviour of those around him—and despite his gruff manner, it soon becomes apparent that the Grump is harbouring painful secrets that he is loath to address.
While this scenario could easily lend itself to Archie Bunker/Norman Lear-style bromides, Karukoski deftly sidesteps this potential pitfall by making his hero both unbearable and sympathetic, satirizing his prejudices and narrow-mindedness while lauding his honesty and validating his frustration with and resistance to modern times. In adapting a book many thought could not be brought to the screen, Karukoski has created an up-to-the-minute piece of social satire and further established himself as one of today’s most versatile and inventive filmmakers.
“This comic romp boasts the sort of humor that can be appreciated by anyone who thinks the world is going to hell in a handbasket… a touching story about tolerance and closing the generation gap.” (Alissa Simon, Variety)
“Audiences who savoured the comic odyssey of The One Hundred Year Old Man are equally likely to embrace the journey of another elderly rascal in The Grump (Mielensapahoittaja), a sweetly sentimental adaptation of the bestselling Tuomas Kyro novel. The comedy is often broad but the emotional upheavals become increasingly heartfelt in what ultimately emerges as a poignant exploration of loneliness, old age and the pitfalls and pleasures of remaining resolutely stuck in your ways.” (Allan Hunter, Screen Daily)