BWW Review: A MUSIC STORY at Cinemas
A Music Story - Opening nights at cinemas in Sweden the 14th of June
The film A Music Story is something very rare as it is a Swedish musical film. It is not often a Swedish musical film is made, but this year, three musical films will run att the big screens all over Sweden. First out is Anders Widmarks A Music Story, which premieres on June 14, then comes Peter Jöback's "I come home again for Christmas" in November and at Christmas "Part of my heart" based on Tomas Ledin's music will run. A magical movie year for any musical lover. Of these three films, I think A Music Story has the lowest budget, which occasionally is noticeable in the film but it doesn't really matter as it's a wonderful tribute to the music and really conveys the love of the music. The strength of this film is mainly in the newly written songs by Anders Widmark and some co-composers. A series of catchy pop songs, rap songs and the amazing Gravity as when I heard Helen Sjöholm sing it the first time in the film gave me shivers. Later in the film it is a duett between Helen and Victoria as well. Helen Sjöholm is one of Swedens most beloved musical artists and has a way of singing which really touches the heart. Most of the songs in the film made me think that this is a really good song, many with a positive and happy melody and feelgood. Songs I will continue to listen to.
A Music Story is about Moa (Victoria Rönnefall) who dreams of writing her own song and joining the "Jampopidols". But her father, the pianist Anton Widebeck (Anders Widmark) is not fond of TV-shows like American Idol and does not think it is a good idea. Children should not compete in music and certainly not in such a cheap program as the "Jampopidols". Anton is an established pianist and composer but whose star has fallen and as music is now being downloaded, it doesn't give much money anymore. He is struggling to contribute to the family's livelihood, but his manager Alexander (Claes Malmberg) does not succeed in getting him a lot of jobs. Instead it is Moa's mother Elisabeth (Helen Sjöholm) who is the one who has had to put her own singing career aside to work as a singing teacher in order to support the family. Anton himself has a hard time accepting that he has to take other jobs and it is only when Elisabeth puts an ultimatum, get a job or I like to have a divorce, as he looks for a regular job. Moa suggests, however, that he should write a musical and that is an idea that his manager also thinks is a good idea. And Anton starts to write the music for the musical.
It is very traditional gender roles in the film with a wife who had to sacrifice her dreams in order to let her husbands´ dreams come true, and who is perceived as nagging when she put demands on her music genius to man. A man who consider himself to belongs to the fine music art and that Idol isn't good enough for him or his daughter. A common vies among some artists and musicians, despite the fact that some of Swedens most popular artists like Måns Zelmerlöv who won the Eurovison Song Contest started his career in Idol. The manager also has a fairly commercial view of Anton's songwriting and is happy to give advice in order to make it more commercial. But at the end it is he who say no, when someone wants to use his artist for free performance. Moa's big idol is Ace Wilder (who also participates in the film) and she wants to sing like her. However her teacher at her music school does not agree. In several ways the film addresses the subject of what is considered to be sufficiently nice and good music. One of the movie's most memorable scenes is the scene when the manager turns to a board member in a foundation to apply for money. The board member is played by Jan Malmsjö and he really has poise and charisma. He corrects the manager in such an effective way with his gaze and voice and it would have been perfect to end the scene right there. Unfortunately the scene was extended a bit too long so the strong and powerful feeling was lost for me, as it turned a bit more violent than needed to get the message through.
Helen Sjöholm is brilliant in her role as the struggling mother who tries to make her family survive. Claes Malmberg is lovely as the manager, loutish but has a certain charm. The young Victoria Rönnefall is charming and has a beautiful voice. But some of her lines doesn't come natural for her, as it is not her own way of expressing herself. However, her voice flows very well when we hear her think and explains what is happening in the film. And just like Anders and Helen, she communicates and express the love of music in a fantastic way. It feels so genuine and sincerely so you leave the film with a big smile on your face and feeling of joy.
It's a lovely feelgood family movie which I highly recommend!
The soundtrack from the film is available at Spotify. Even if the film is in Swedish all songs are with English lyrics.