Fallen Leaves

The dedication writer/director Aki Kaurismäki has for the art of deadpan is nothing short of impressive, and he successfully conveys just how well he understands the form of communication with Fallen Leaves.  The issue is Kaurismäki’s movie peaks too early, staying loyal to its consistency but also refusing to evolve from its core strength.

Fallen Leaves is a romantic comedy that audiences deserve.  Characters are cynical and exhausted, going through the motions as they live within a modern “dystopia” that seems to regurgitate disheartening headlines.  But, these people still realize the importance of a personal connection.  Such is the case for our leads Holappa (Jussi Vatanen) and Ansa (Alma Pöysti, who earned a Golden Globe nominee for her performance), two strangers who cross paths and are intrigued by each other. 

Though less stylistic than Spike Jonze’s Her but also avoiding being too on the nose, at the end of the day, Fallen Leaves still satisfies as a unique rom-com.  The genre’s overused narrative conventions are still in attendance, but the film’s sardonic attitude towards the social climate while it embraces coy romance is when Kaurismäki finds the film’s best element.  Once the film settles into that nook, Kaurismäki doesn’t do much else to challenge himself to advance the plot.  Other than some opportunities that risk Ansa and Holappa losing touch, the narrative doesn’t offer much else that’s interesting or exciting.

Fallen Leaves will be a breath of fresh air for movie goers looking for a change of pace, but it’s only some respite from the norm.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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