The meet cute in "Just Another Love Story" is very much not. Jonas (Anders W. Berthelsen) is out with his wife Mette (Charlotte Fich) and their two children when their beat-up car breaks down in the middle of the road. Julia (Rebecka Hemse) has been sobbing into her phone and doesn’t see them until it’s too late. Swerving to avoid them, she hits another car, killing its driver and ending up in a coma.
Jonas, troubled, goes to the hospital and, in order to see Julia, lies that he’s the man she called out to while lying in the road in shock after the accident â€” Sebastian, who turns out to be the boyfriend Julia met while traveling in Southeast Asia, the man her wealthy family members, who happen to all be there at the hospital, have never met but who have been desperately trying to contact. And so, Jonas ends up pretending to be Sebastian, at first out of guilt for the initial fib, and then out of a growing infatuation with Julia, who wakes up mostly blind and amnesic, an intriguingly fragile blank slate on which Jonas can project an idealized relationship that’s nothing like the daily grind of his life with Mette, his mortgage or his grim work as a crime scene photographer.
Danish director Ole Bornedal is best known here for his unloved 1997 remake of his own horror film "Nightwatch," with Ewan McGregor and Nick Nolte. He has a handy way with genres â€” Julia, with her restless rich girl past, her love of travel and tendency to attract damaged men, is jokingly labeled a femme fatale by one character, but she’s more representative of a whole world of film noir smashing into Jonas’ life and providing him with all the excitement and danger he’s ever longer for, and plenty more: Jonas starts the film off narrating, "Sunset Blvd."-style, from a spreading pool of blood on the sidewalk. How he finally ends up there, through a process of third act leaps of logic and over-the-top plot developments, turns out to be disappointing, but much of the briskly stylish film that precedes it isn’t. Sebastian’s midlife crisis and angst over the complacency that’s become his existence are understandable, given the way the gleaming Denmark suburbs in which he lives look fittingly like an Ikea nightmare, but he’s not let off the hook either. His wife and his friends all have their own quiet dissatisfactions and ways of coping that bleed through Sebastian’s self-consumed storytelling â€” but they, unlike him, have accepted that getting by involves certain compromises. Sebastian is the only one who believes he can make the leap into a different film entirely.
"Just Another Love Story" currently has no US distribution.
+ "Just Another Love Story" (Sundance)