The Substitute

The festival program called The Substitute science fiction, and I thought IMDb called it primarily a comedy, so I was expecting something with a feel similar to Men in Black. That horror was also on the list of genres this film belongs in was what I missed. Luckily, since I’m not a horror fan, it wasn’t all that gory, though there was quite a bit more tension than I expected. It did have a number of moments that reminded me of MiB, including the opening alien arrival scene.

The top-level plot is that Ulla (played by Dogme queen Paprika Steen) is the new substitute teacher for a sixth grade class, and she’s not from around here. The main non-alien characters are a family consisting of father Jesper, son Carl, and daughter Sophie, who all recently lost their mother.

At some point I noticed that I almost always like the Scandinavian films I see at film festivals. So this Danish film had to go on my list to see. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I still had a lot of fun and was very glad for this little rule of mine.

I’ll give it a strong 3 stars out of 4 stars.

Seen 2/29/2008 at Cinequest.


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