Becoming Astrid is a new biopic about Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, who wrote numerous children’s books. She is best known for creating Pippi Longstocking. The film tells Lindgren’s story as a young woman as she began to form her identity and passion.
The story is certainly compelling, but not exactly what you would expect from a biopic about such a renowned literary figure. Surprisingly, the movie chose not to focus on Lindgren’s literary career, but her life as a young woman. This is interesting, as these experiences seem to be (at least according to the film) those which shaped her writing the most.
The movie is very successful in making Lindgren a sympathetic protagonist. She does make some decisions over the course of the film that are saddening and frustrating, but that is the intended effect. By the end of the story, the audience will have a tremendous amount of respect for Lindgren’s experiences and the level of humanity that they brought to her work.
Thankfully, the movie never feels slow or boring. That being said, it does become somewhat manipulative at times, going to any lengths necessary in order to elicit an emotional response from the audience. Sometimes, this method was extremely effective and made the characters even more sympathetic. Other times, it fell flat and created distance.
The development of the supporting characters was lackluster. The movie introduces some interesting storylines involving supporting characters, but never develops them. For example, Lindgren’s parents do not have as large of a role in the film as they should. There are some hints of family drama in the beginning, but these fizzle out by the end.
However, the movie’s execution is very strong. The cinematography and production design are both great. They do an excellent job of transporting the audience back in time to the place and time in which the film is set. Also good is the movie’s use of music. The score is simple, but wonderful, adding to the tone of the film as a whole.
The actors do well in their roles too. Actress Alba August commands the screen in her lead role as Astrid Lindgren. She does a great job of hitting the emotional beats in the movie. Henrik Rafaelsen is also quite good in his supporting role. He has great chemistry with August and elicits the intended emotions out of the audience.
Overall, Becoming Astrid is a rather solid biopic. It is compelling and well-made, although a few moments do feel shallow and manipulative.
Becoming Astrid is now playing in select theaters.