The Commune (2016) aka Kollektivet (2016) is a Danish film by Thomas Vinterberg. It is a triangular love story told in the backdrop of a group of people living together under one roof in the 1970s Copenhagen. It was a fine movie to watch, but one with a mismatched title.
Anna (Trine Dyrholm) is a successful television newsreader, married to Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) who is University Professor of Architecture, the couple has a teenage daughter Freja (Martha Sofie Wallstrom Hansen). To manage the expenses of having a large house, they welcome half-a-dozen people, almost strangers, to live with them as a commune with collective ownership of the house. We see the decision making by vote, non-sexual relationships between the couples, worries about the rising cost of “beer” in the household and so on. Each of the occupants brings a new personality to the “family”, had it been explored further would’ve made the film more engaging.
The first half of the film was about the easy-going, cigarette-smoking characters bonding with each other and getting used to the commune living. The second half was about Anna, her emotional breakdown following Erik’s adultery with his young student Emma (Helene Reingaard Neumann) and Freja’s exploration for a boyfriend. Though the entire cast was fine, it was Trine Dyrholm as Anna, Martha Sofie as Freja who get to impress us with their performances.
With the title “The Commune”, I was expected the film to explore the dynamics between the different occupants, which it did initially, only to drift away to focus on the breakup of the lead couple.