Synopsis

In a series of remarkable events inspired by a true story, Maria Heiskanen stars as Maria Larsson, a Finnish mother and housewife who devotes all of her attention, care, and consideration to the well-being of her family -- but, like many homemakers, does so at the expense of her own identity and self-awareness. Not that her dockworker husband, Sigge (Mikael Persbrandt), particularly deserves such consideration; a brutish, alcoholic lout, his evenings consist of making life hell for Maria and their daughter with tyrannical, abusive behavior. Then, as the dockworkers go on strike and the family's economic situation plummets, a ray of hope appears, in the form of a Contessa camera won in a local lottery. Unsurprisingly, Maria at first attempts to pawn it to reel in extra monies, but store owner Sebastian Pedersen convinces her otherwise; he teaches her how to use it, and she begins taking gorgeous, haunting photographs with the unaffected, instinctive perceptions of a young child. As the woman's self-discovery builds and her identity takes on form and definition, Sebastian unofficially takes her on as a protégée and quietly witnesses romantic feelings for her building inside of him. Meanwhile, Sigge's life falls to pieces when the authorities connect him with the catastrophic explosion of a British vessel. Maria's daughter, Maja (Callin Öhrvall), narrates. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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