REVIEW: On My Mind [2021]

Rating: 9 out of 10.
  • Rating: NR | Runtime: 18 minutes
    Release Date: 2021 (Denmark)
    Studio: The New Yorker
    Director(s): Martin Strange-Hansen
    Writer(s): Martin Strange-Hansen

It makes the soul fly.

There may not be any surprises where it comes to the plot of Martin Strange-Hansen‘s short On My Mind, but there’s a ton of heart. And that’s often all you can ask for when it comes to art. Does the piece touch you on a level deeper than whether you can guess the ending? Do you leave the theater with a smile on your face thanks to the melancholic beauty of a character’s actions? Have the events unfolding on-screen brought forward your own memory of loss and love through the poignancy of its journey? These are Strange-Hansen’s accomplishments upon sending Henrik (Rasmus Hammerich) to a barely opened dive bar this fateful weekday morning. This man seeks to drown his sorrow. He discovers a way to embrace it instead.

What’s great about how it unfolds is its lack of airs as far as trying to pull one over on the audience. Strange-Hansen isn’t hiding a twist. He’s merely allowing this moment to breath insofar as what its content can mean for onlookers. Because, even if it isn’t explicitly spoken aloud, we know bar owner Preben (Ole Boisen) and bartender Louise (Camilla Bendix) are together. The way she endears herself to Henrik to get a rise out of him is more important than the reasons why their customer must sing “Always on My Mind” this instant before it’s too late. This is a moment for Preben to prove that he may have a romantic bone in his body after all—even if he must be guilted into showing it.

Henrik’s act to sing is one of pure love and sound mind. He knows there’s no escaping what’s about to happen and yet he sees a chance to do something that will ease the pain anyway. That Strange-Hansen adds a bit of coincidence (Preben knows the exact number of that song amongst two thousand on a karaoke machine he abhors?) and the supernatural (gusts of wind and handprints on glass giving form to the afterlife) only enhances the experience and ensures we absorb it as the parable for never taking your happiness for granted that it is. Because if Henrik can still find hope and grace in death, we should all be able to see them and embrace them in life. Even a surly old curmudgeon like Preben.

courtesy of ShortsTV

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.