Hole in My Heart, A (Sweden/Denmark, 2004)

A movie review by James Berardinelli

Of all the films I have seen in my life, A Hole in My Heart may have been the most disappointing. This is the fourth film from hot Swedish director Lukas Moodysson. Two of his previous three movies, Show Me Love and Lilya 4-Ever, made my year-end Top 10 lists. So it was with great anticipation that I settled into a seat on the first Friday night of the 2004 Toronto Film Festival to see A Hole in My Heart. 98 minutes later, I felt like I had been dragged through a vat of raw sewage laced with Sominex.

Critics who want to promote Moodysson's "daring" are using words like "shocking" and "disturbing" as qualifiers in their (positive) reviews of this production. While I agree that those adjectives are accurate, they don't go far enough. A Hole in My Heart is disgusting, offensive, and utterly without merit. And, on top of that, it's boring and pretentious. Porn has more value. One thing that can be said about A Hole in My Heart is that, despite lots of graphic sex and nudity, there's not an erotic moment in the film. (Note: the sex is not hardcore. Moodysson drew the line at penetration.)

There isn't a plot - or at least not one of any substance. A Hole in My Heart spends time in an apartment where a group of people are making a home porn video. The film moves at a glacial pace. The dialogue, much of which is improvised, is flat. Then there are the images that Moodysson splices in to allow the movie to "push the envelope." These include documentary footage of a vaginal reconstruction and a lovely scene in which one character vomits into the mouth of another.

Of course, there are those who will laud this movie as cutting-edge cinema. Repugnant visuals, low-quality, intentionally shaky camera work (the Dogma directors would love this), and rambling dialogue have great appeal to some, and they will wallow in what Moodysson is offering here. You know the type I'm referring to: pretentious cineastes who like only dull movies that offer no entertainment value. And that's a pretty good description of A Hole in My Heart. I can't imagine a worst film being released this year.

Hole in My Heart, A (Sweden/Denmark, 2004)

Run Time: 1:38
U.S. Release Date: 2005-04-08
MPAA Rating: "NR" (Sexual Situations, Nudity, Profanity, Violence, Drugs)
Genre: DRAMA
Subtitles: English subtitled Swedish
Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1