Midsummer Night

Midsummer Night
Midsummer Night
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It’s one of those times when you feel that some shows would be better with fewer actors. Sometimes there are just too many people and too many stories to give enough time and care to. A new drama from Norway has this issue, but it’s still worth watching because of its central couple and the news that will make everyone rethink their relationships.

Opening Shot

At a house on a lake, a large family is playing games on the front lawn.

The Gist

People are spinning with their heads on bottles before staggering back to the starting line. There’s a tug of war. Sounds like a lot of family stuff going on at once. But all along Johannes (Dennis Storhøi) keeps asking himself why Carina (Pernilla August), his wife hasn’t told them yet.

Two weeks prior, while Johannes was building a bonfire he burned during Midsummer, which is the Scandinavian festival for the summer solstice. Carina decides she will tell everything in the night of Midsummer Night as everybody else are enjoying themselves during celebrations. She also wants a Swedish Midsummer celebration which is more fun and silly than how it should be celebrated where they’re living in Norway.

When the day comes, Carina bakes her traditional strawberry cake while Johannes sets up with Helena (Sofia Tjelta), his youngest daughter and Carina’s daughter as well. Petronella (Maria Agwumaro), who is Johannes’ daughter and at the same time Helena half-sister gets there first. Darius (Peiman Azizpour) Hanne’s fiancé comes with Hanne( Amalia Holm). Jannike (Linn Skåber) And Tabur(Kadir Talabani) parents to Darius arrive next accompanied by Darius’ brother Robert(Eirik Hallert), whom at one point dated Helena.

Carina spends all this time searching for her brother Håkan (Christopher Wollter). Håkan comes sailing with Sara (Fanny Klefelt) who is way younger than him.

Now Johannes is wondering if Carina is going to tell them her news after all. Which was when we went back 7 weeks and saw Carina struggling with swimming as she confessed to a friend that she has cognitive issues, feeling like she has to learn some things all over again.

Back on the lake, everybody’s having a great time at lunch when Hanne sees two empty chairs. That’s when Elin (Liv Bernhoft Osa) and her son Lysander (Kim Falck), Hanne’s ex, show up. Carina has no words for what just happened but thinks it is because of everything else she has in mind lately.

This happens one month ago. She might or might not be suffering from a cognitive disorder, but Carina knows that she feels like “withering away.” She wants to live more, but not with Johannes who appears to her “done.” It’s not that she doesn’t love him or the life they built, be she asks him for a divorce so he does not hold her back.

What Shows Will It Remind You Of?

Although Midsummer Night takes place over 24 hours, the intricate family secrets part of this show reminds us of other programs such as Brothers & Sisters and Parenthood.

Our Take

The first thirty minutes of the limited series Midsummer Night, created by Per-Olov Sorensen, is a whirlwind. Carina and Johannes’ seems like it’s been going on for about forty years now. These two adults have 2 grown-up daughters with the ex-con being a part of the family but not really. Helena and Hanne are both complicated cases. And Carina’s brother Håkan prefers dating women who are half his age.

It is this dissatisfaction that revolves around Carina during her sixties as she wants to blow up her life in order to utilize whatever time remains for her before she dies. She will change everything when she finally discloses what has been happening in their lives as a whole.

The way Carina brings up these issues is kind of confusing. It wasn’t the flash back device that bothered us, but rather the fact that at first she made some mention of cognitive decline but then said I want a divorce to live my own life. Was it real cognitive decline or just fear about how settled her life was? Maybe it was some combination of both these things. We still don’t know yet if we’re honest with ourselves, maybe more flashbacks need to be added here.

However, flashbacks will help understand Johannes’ relationship with Petronella and how this affected his relationship with Carina in particular. If we could see Lysander next to Hanne, maybe seeing them together would reveal how their marriage fell apart and why Carina stayed friends with him after they divorced.

This is too much information to remember all at once though . So we wonder if every story that can get enough time will be able to get told well enough in seventeen minutes? At least their good-looking lakefront house where the family gathered is quite enjoyable place to be around people; this really helps. We can wait out whether those many stories ever get resolved through this.

Parting Shot

Helena asks Carina what the “secret” her and Johannes have, but Carina won’t say yet. Johannes looks at his wife and wonders when she’s going to give the news.

Sleeper Star

Hanne of Amalia Holm has a lot on her plate given that her ex-husband. And former mother-in-law are at this party for no reason that she is aware of. We’ll see how she handles it.

Most Pilot-y Line

The instant Håkan said he didn’t want children, Sara knew she would walk into a bathroom and pull out a pregnancy test. That may be one of the more predictable storylines on this series.

Our Call

STREAM IT. Midsummer Night may have a few too many stories to service in five short episodes. But the family at the show’s center is one we want to spend time with, which helps a lot.

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