Run time: 103 mins
Finland’s submission to the 93rd Academy Awards offers an intimate yet vivid portrayal of the creator of The Moomins, Tove Jansson.
Tracing the life of Tove Jansson (Alma Pöysti) during the post-war era, Tove explores her inner and outer worlds – their divisions, crossovers and complications. Struggling to find her identity in the shadow of her sculptor father and graphic-artist mother, Jansson seeks expression for her frustrations through two romantic relationships: one with upper-class heiress and theatre director Vivica Bandler (Krista Kosonen) and the other with married, political writer Atos Wirtanen (Shanti Roney).
Directed by Zaida Bergroth and written by Eeva Putro, it is as much of a character study of Jansson as it is a musing of the wider female experience. The editing by Samu Heikkilä ensures narrative dynamism, whilst Catharina Nyqvist Ehrnrooth’s sets and Eugen Tamberg’s costume reconstruct Jansson’s environment in meticulous detail, evoking genuine nostalgia. Cynics may say that the beauty of Tove is to be expected given its significant financial backing as the second most expensive Finnish film ever made. Regardless, it is a paradigm of filmmaking as an artistic craft, and utterly unmissable.