Copenhagen is bound to be compared to Lost in Translation or Cairo Time. A young man (William played by Game of Thrones’ Gethin Anthony) embarks on foreign travels and runs into a young woman (Effy played by Frederikke Dahl Hansen) who becomes very interested in the man’s personal journey. They drink in the scenery, taste the culture, and slowly develop something that’s more than a friendship. However, complications arise – as they do on Eurotrips.
I touch upon the story similarities because I would much rather face how the film is achingly familiar before I address what filmmaker Mark Raso does so originally well.
Before the romantic link is introduced, William and Effy appear annoyed with each other. Effy is a freewheeler, but stops at filling in all of the Indie Pixie requirements, and William is boastfully testy. I believe he even calls Effy an idiot the first time they meet after she accidentally spills coffee on his important document.
She starts to ask about his trip. He explains that he’s been ditched by his best friend, who brought along his girlfriend and launched into an impromptu proposal. The lovebirds have scurried off, leaving William to smoulder and try to find interesting people to talk to.
His mission: to track down a descendent relative and pass on a tattered letter. William has never quite been in touch with his heritage, and Effy sees this as an opportunity for an eye-opening discovery.
Copenhagen is truly in its element when the newly acquainted pair are chit-chatting as they bike down cobblestoned streets past the European architecture. Raso has found a delicate harmony between showing natural friendship unfold and capturing lovely scenery. Copenhagen in no way feels like a filmmaker helming a Travelogue. That’s a difficult goal for some to achieve (see: Adriatico My Love).
Movie goers enjoy hanging out with William and Effy as they figure out more historical hints, and use a series of photographs for a map and a timeline. Anthony and Hansen play well off one another and develop a fetching chemistry immediately despite the characters starting things off on the wrong foot.
Raso could’ve handled William’s coarse attitude towards others in a subtler manner though. And, I have no doubt Anthony could’ve reeled in his standoffish personality. We understand he’s angry and is in need for human interaction, but sometimes the piercing insults and dirty looks go overboard.
I suppose I had a hard time believing in any of the romantic prospects Raso’s script had planned because William and Effy don’t emit a lover’s aroma to each other or to the audience. We don’t picture them as people who would caress each other on a canal boat tour. These are two people who try and scare each other with masks they found in the gift shop. The characters can be flirtatious, but Raso has to know how far those advances can go before they start feeling flimsy.
Mark Raso’s wiseness for infatuations is hit-or-miss, but he does catch those moments of relationship ambiguity in billowy, beautiful places. Williams may be a jerk, but we enjoy seeing him with his guard down. Effy may be an enigma, but we enjoy her excitement in digging up family roots. Copenhagen is a good time because we’re pleased to watch this charming friendship bloom. It’s funny how the tiniest wink can tilt a movie in a misshapen direction.