In her newest film, TOVE, director Zaida Bergroth gives us a peek into the life of notable children’s author/illustrator Tove Jansson. Growing up during World War II, Tove followed her artistic side just as her father, Victor Jansson, who had become a well-known sculptor. The film acts as both a biopic and love story with the main focus being Tove’s relationship with theater director Vivica Bandler, played by Krista Kosonen. The film plays more towards the drama of the situation opposed to the growth behind Tove’s future work. Bergroth’s style of shooting thrusts the viewer into every scene making you feel as if you are there experiencing every moment with these characters.
The most powerful element throughout the film is the performance from Alma Pöysti who plays Tove. I honestly do not know what it is but Pöysti has a charm about her that just brings you in slowly. Her relationships regardless with whom all have a sincerity and tone that is one with the character; watching each one play out but feeling them as if they were your own. The burden falls on being able to tell these deep rooted relationships and how each have their effect on Toven while also telling her whole story on how she came into her own pocket of fame. It is in that separation that Bergroth fails because Tove’s inspiration and how her work came to be takes a back seat to her romances. Instead her past and future work is merely hinted at with the results coming rather quickly in something that equates to a montage sequence spread throughout.
In one aspect Bergroth was able to tell a beautiful story about a woman growing up and being able to live a life by her own rules. The other end of the spectrum though offers little information about a political cartoonist who transformed her work into something that children adored as well as did what she wanted regardless of what those around thought.
2.5 out of 5
Film is In Theaters Now