Review: Romance Surfaces in ‘The Sunfish’

The Sunfish is the well made debut film by Danish director Søren Balle, set on the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark.  The main character Kesse, played by Henrik Birch, is a set-in-his ways fisherman struggling to make ends meet given newly imposed environmental regulations and declining numbers of fish in the local seas.  He is faced with firing his only crew member and even losing his boat to the bank so he reluctantly decides to give in to an offer to take a marine biologist (who turns out to be a woman) onboard in exchange for an extra set of fish quotas that could help him stay financially afloat.

The Sunfish is a slower-paced, quieter film than another similarly themed 2014 release, The Grand Seduction.  It probably will appeal more to the 40-something-up crowd than the younger viewer as Kesse is a middle-aged man facing middle-aged crises in his love and work lives.  I appreciated that Kesse (Birch) and Gerd (Storm) looked like real people—good-looking, but not Hollywood-sculpted good-looking.

Thanks in large part to the chemistry between the leads, The Sunfish transforms into a heartwarming romance. I highly recommend it.

The Sunfish will be released in Denmark as Klumpfisken in 2014, and with luck, it will hopefully be accessible sometime soon in the U.S.  (I watched it at the Seattle International Film Festival)

Random fact:  The Sunfish is named after the ocean sunfish, or Mola mola, the heaviest bony fish in existence, a fish that can weigh over two tons.

Review: B+ | 100 minutes | Denmark

By Karen Samdahl
Related categories: Comedies, Foreign Films, Movie Reviews