Jonathan White’s review published on Letterboxd:
TIFF 2017 film #17
Reason for pick - director Joachim Trier - Oslo, August 31st
The lovechild of Carrie and The VVitch, taking the coming of age telekinetic themes of the former and pairing it with the religious repression, haunting spookiness, and glacial pace from the latter.
This was our middle film, today, and both my wife and I had been good the previous night and were off to bed at a respectable ( for vacation TIFF time that is ) hour, yet we both struggled to stay awake during the extended opening act.
Thelma was also somewhat of a redemption for director Joachim Trier for me. After Oslo, August 31st, which I consider a masterpiece, his follow up, Louder Than Bombs, was a disappointment. Maybe it was the transition to writing an English language film? While Thelma doesn’t reach the same heights as Oslo, at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Marks were deducted in what was a hard to believe ‘with freedom comes corruption’ second act, where puritanical practices are unravelled in what seems like seconds for the pleasures of the flesh … all pretty much in a single party. The serpent was a bit too on the nose for me, thank you very much.
Where Thelma shone for me was the ending, and the unexplored dark and light implications that it innocently hints at. I wouldn’t mind visiting Thelma again, when she’s a bit older, just to see what she’s up to.