review by KJ Doughton, 15 February
Women in Cinema Film Festival
Dennis P., the spunky hero of Miracle played by Stefan Pagels Andersen, is introduced as a
swaggering white rapper. For this Danish variation of a barely
teenage Vanilla Ice, the tough black sweater and Fred Durst baseball
cap canít hide his many insecurities. As we follow this skinny
kidís mournful, angry lyrics, we come to realize exactly what it
is that disturbs Dennis. Itís the delayed onset of manhood.
"Iím hiding something that nobody knows," goes his
explanatory rhyme, "I see no pubes when I check my hose."
The buck-toothed youth has other
concerns as well. Like the distraught Howie of L.I.E,
who tight-roped precariously above Long Island Expressway traffic on
an overpass beam, Dennis tempts death as a way of mourning a
recently deceased parent. Venturing onto the roof of his motherís
apartment, the boy stumbles over its shingles where his father
slipped and fell during a foolish bout of partying. Meanwhile,
mother (Sidse Babett Knudsen) trades in her routine as a dance
teacher to hibernate in bed, complaining of a migraine, but Dennis
knows better. Sheís depressed, and he shares her sorrow, despite
the companionship of best buddy Mick (Sebastian Jessen), and a
potential romance with cute schoolgirl Karen Elise (Stephania
Potalivo). Meanwhile, Dennisí mental health appears frayed around
its edges. Like a chronic schizophrenic cheeking his Clozaril, the
troubled boy gasps as a guardian angel (Thomas Bo Larsen)
materializes. Sporting Pegasus-sized wings, Edgar Winterís palid
complexion and Liberaceís flamboyant style of dress, this
luminescent being pops into Dennisí life offering spiritual advice
prepubescent protagonist also takes a feather from Bjorkís cap,
drifting into colorful hallucinations when the shi*t gets too thick.
As a condescending teacher named Mr. Sandstrom (Peter Frodin) makes
a mockery of Dennis, denouncing the tike as "my favorite
retard," the entire classroom morphs into a Mexican fiesta,
complete with maraca-shaking schoolmates and cha-cha music.
Sandstrom takes center stage as a wide-eyed, frenzied grasshopper,
decked out in a flowery purple shirt like Ricky Martin and trouncing
around like one of The Village People gone salsa. Another freakout
musical number involves the aftermath of a lie. Out for a night of
grocery shopping and desperate to attend a boozy after-school
shindig with Mick and Karen Elise, Dennis fibs to mom about joining
his mates for a sober study session. Suddenly, his mother is swathed
in shocking-green and orange garments, while tap-dancing box boys
leap over food displays, soup cans, and six-packs of mineral water.
The garish display of music is like an acid-drenched, amped-up
variation on The Grinch,
as Dennis is chastised for his dishonesty.
All the while, heís miffed to
behold that Karen Elise is falling in love with cool-guy Mick.
"A woman can be a knife in the back of a manís
friendship," warns a kindly deli owner as the two buddies
engage in a subtle competition for the cutieís precocious charms,
before counseling Dennis to take matters up with God. Soon, our
saddened little Dane is huddled in a chapel, praying to the Man
Upstairs. "I know itís not a big problem, compared to what
else is going on in the world," he acknowledges to the
Almighty, "but I want
pubes." Before you can say "Spinal
Tap," another whacked-out musical extravaganza is underway,
complete with sequined dancing girls, blazing rock musicians
resembling an army of David St. Hubbins clones, and a chorus of
grandmothers. "God heard your prayer, while winging through the
air," confirms Dennisí guardian angel, as the whole decadent
entourage continues their glam-rock strutting amidst religious
statues and stained glass windows.
Taking pity on the twelve-year-old,
Dennisí celestial friend grants him an "angel license for
performing moderate miracles." Soon, the youth is zapping
lightning bolts from his fingertips and conjuring forth the power to
summon puberty, cheer up his mom, and win back the love of Karen
Elise. However, life throws curve balls to even the most well
intended spell-casters, and Miracle
concludes as Dennis discovers that the best things in life emerge
from unforced spontaneity.
A jaded cynic will wince at Miracleís goofy, uninhibited spirit, but if one lets their callous
guard down long enough, this quirky fairy tale gets under the skin
and softens the heart. Surrender to this colorful patchwork quilt
reminiscent of a kitschy, underage Strictly
Ballroom, and appreciate its refreshingly playful,
Stefan Pagels Andersen
Sidse Babett Knudsen
Kim Fupz Aakeson
NR- Not Rated.
This film has not