There is a very different twist to the infidelity in the Danish “Queen of Hearts,” directed by May El-Toukhy, who co-wrote the screenplay with Maren Louise Kdehne. (The film is Denmark’s Oscar entry.) Anne, the lawyer-wife of a doctor, makes a drastic mistake when her husband’s teenage son from a former liaison comes to live with them. He’s a good-looking but troubled youth who has had difficulties and needs loving help, but not the kind he will get from his stepmother.
Anne, the stepmom, played by Anne Trinedyrholm, finds Gustav (Gustav Lindh) attractive. He is an interesting teenager, who records an interview with her, precociously asking very personal questions. We see sensuality and intimacy developing in the otherwise stable household, in which Peter (Magnus Krepper), the husband, and Anne have two young daughters.
In a definite no-no, Anne explicitly seduces Gustav who understandably doesn’t want to let go when Anne wants to call it quits. For one thing, she fears exposure when they are seen embracing outdoors. She fears the secret will out.
Of course it will. Gustav ultimately confesses to his father, who understandably is furious and angrily confronts Anne. This is where the film takes an unusual turn. Anne adopts a position of vigorous denial, insisting that Gustav is a disturbed youth resorting to lies. It becomes a question of whom do you believe, me or your deeply troubled son?
The film grasps our interest in seeing how the mess works out, who will be hurt most and what the future will hold. A Breaking Glass release. Reviewed November 5, 2019.