Inside Out 2011: ‘Four More Years’ – A Romantic Comedy In The Best Sense
Directed by Tova Magnusson-Norling
Written by Wilhelm Behrman
Four More Years, directed by Tova Magnusson-Norling, uses the tried and true romantic comedy formula to its complete advantage. Unlikely love interests, check. Falling-in-love montage, check. Inevitable misunderstanding leading to separation, check. Happy ending, well, you’ll have to see. All the romantic comedy staples are there. The result is genuinely romantic, touching and consistently hilarious.
Four More Years tells the story of David Holst, leader of the Swedish center-right Liberal Party. Though he is predicted by everyone to become Sweden’s new Prime Minister, he is defeated at the last second by the Social Democrats. While trying to salvage his own reputation and that of his party, David strikes up a friendship with the charming and openly gay Martin Kovac. Quickly moving from friendship to much more, the problems start to amass. The fact that David is already married and that Martin is in fact a man aren’t even the worst of David’s newfound challenges. What makes this an impossible situation is that Martin is in fact an influential member of the Social Democrats who so brutally defeated David’s Liberals in the elections. This premise alone is praiseworthy but the rest of the film delivers as well.
Though director Tova Magnusson-Norling (who also stars in the film as David’s wife-cum-campaign manager, Fia) should be lauded for a well-executed, dynamic comedy, the film’s biggest asset is its incredibly hilarious script written by Wilhelm Behrman. The comedy in the film is intelligent but never exclusive or patronizing. It’s physical but never stupid. It’s edgy but not offensive. All the characters are funny and kooky in their own way without becoming caricatures or overly quirky indie cardboard cutouts. Despite the fact that this is primarily a comedy, the film has plenty of touching and at times even sad moments that fit into the rest of the narrative flawlessly. Behrman and Magnusson-Norling have taken the romantic comedy formula and truly utilized it in the best way possible.
Working with a wonderful script, the actors in this film are simply superb. Björn Kjellman and Eric Ericson who play David and Martin, respectively, absolutely shine as lovers from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Whether, either or both of them are gay in real life is irrelevant because on screen, we really believe that they love each other and want them to stay together, no matter their apparent differences. Chemistry on screen isn’t exactly easy to pull off but these two have it in spades. Especially funny are Sten Ljunggren as Martin’s socialist father, Josef, and Inger Heyman as David’s clueless mother.
It’s not often that you see a movie and get that warm and fuzzy feeling but Four More Years is definitely one of those movies. A romantic comedy in the best sense, it is the kind of film that is both light and thoughtful and will tug at your heartstrings more than once.