Anne, a brilliant and dedicated lawyer specialising in children and young adults, lives what appears to be the picture-perfect life with her doctor-husband, Peter, and their twin daughters. When her estranged teenage stepson, Gustav, moves in with them, Anne’s escalating desire leads her down a dangerous rabbit warren which, once exposed, unleashes a sequence of events that threatens to destroy her world.
Queen of Hearts explores the making of a tragic family secret step-by-step, as the consequences of hubris, lust, and lies conspire to create an unimaginable dilemma.
Nordic Jury's motivation:
Is it about a midlife crisis? About class? Or about desire and passion? Is she a sexual abuser? Or a psychopath? We’re used to movies serving a clear point, we almost always know whether a movie character is good or evil, but with Queen of Hearts (Dronningen) director May el-Toukhy and co-writer Maren Louise Käehne leave it to us, the audience, to find focus and morale and to judge the protagonist Anne, who is doing exactly what she should NOT be doing – having an affair with her stepson. Strangely it feels entirely right to have that responsibility. It’s not a pleasure to get to know Anne – but it is an arousing pleasure to experience a finely masked film that gives us the right tools to see our own relationship as a complex human being. And this film believes we are capable of it. It’s impossible not to praise Trine Dyrholm for her formidably nuanced performance as ‘Queen’ Anne, but at all levels – cinematography, music, production design and more – the ‘Queen’ is an impressive feat. It makes seemingly impossible task seem easy and effortless.
Nordic Jury members: Per Juul Carlsen, Jaana Puskala, Hilmar Oddson, Inger Merete Hobbelstad, Kristina Börjeson
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National Jury's motivation: It’s incredibly difficult to tell a story that leaves it up to the audience to find motives among the contributors, especially when the protagonist is involved in something as morally reprehensible as a sexual relationship with his stepson. But in Queen of Hearts, which in many respects breaks with our usual perception of film, such openness feels completely right. Director May el-Toukhy maintains this difficult balance, while Trine Dyrholm turns her protagonist into someone mysterious yet completely human. Queen of Hearts is a joyous shock to both the eyes and soul.
National Jury: Per Juul Carlsen, Jacob Wendt Jensen, Eva Novrup Redvall