Lasse Hallström’s international breakthrough is set in late 1950s Sweden and stars Anton Glanzelius as twelve-year-old Ingemar, a mischievous scamp who is sent away to a rural town to live with his uncle and aunt after his terminally ill mother can no longer cope.
Although the bulk of the story is based on Reidar Jonsson’s popular novel, Hallström also invests this delightful rite-of-passage picture with many autobiographical references to achieve a work of Truffautesque warmth and wit.
Hallström shows a keen appreciation of the workings of a young mind, as he chronicles the misadventures of the imaginative 12-year-old packed off by his tubercular mother to stay with his uncle in the southern Swedish countryside of the 1950s.
Thus, he is able to coax a performance of innocence and spirit from Anton Glanzelius, who is wonderfully natural whether getting into mischief, experiencing misery or taking on the unsuspecting locals who cross his path.
Tomas von Brömssen