A Swedish Midsummer Sex Comedy

Well, A Swedish Midsummer Sex Comedy (aka: Äntligen Midsommar!) was made in Sweden, but it probably wasn’t midsummer when it was filmed, and there’s not much sex and not much comedy, either. Perhaps they should have stuck with the Swedish title ‘at last it’s midsummer’. In fact, this movie was a strange affair altogether, which was only explained by watching the added item: an interview with the director Ian McCrudden. He is American and married to Annica Bejhed (Maria in the film) but living in the USA. So the movie was rather an American’s idea of Sweden rather than really Swedish. As such it failed to convey any of the real ‘midsummer madness’ which is undoubtedly prevalent at that time of the year in Sweden. With such long, dark winters and all that snow, they are allowed to go a bit silly in midsummer, aren’t they?

Not only is the director American but he inserts a visiting American into the cast, perhaps representing himself. This character speaks no Swedish and so dialogue switched at times from Swedish with subtitles into English which ruins what little Swedish atmosphere there is. The movie – obviously very low budget (and filmed in a single location) – could have been so much better with a better (probably, Swedish) director. Plot-wise: four couples (old friends) visit a picturesque waterside cottage on an island outside Stockholm to spend midsummer celebrating with (mainly) alcohol and, if capable after all that drink, some sex. That was the aim but, unfortunately, for one reason and another, things don’t go quite like that.

Organiser Emil (Daniel Gustavvson) thinks this could be a good time to propose to partner Susanne (Lisa Werlinder). Maria (Annica Bejhed) spends all her time attempting to persuade husband Anders (Olle Sari) to devote his time to making her pregnant. Over-protective husband Micke (Alexander Karim) thinks his heavily pregnant wife Katarina (Kari Hamfors Wernolf) will give birth any minute, and Eva (Anna Littorin) has, at the last minute, split up from vicar boyfriend Patrik (Per Wernolf).

Into this smörgåsbord of a gathering comes the visiting American Sam (Luke Perry). So, there’s quite some scope for some real Swedish midsummer sex comedy, but nothing really catches fire. Things happen or don’t happen but all rather lifelessly. Who did director McCrudden think he was making this movie for: an American audience, a Swedish audience, or what? Perhaps American, considering all the coyness in sauna and other scenes with much use made of very large concealing towels – very un-Swedish – but very prudishly American. In any event, surely American audiences wouldn’t have relished subtitles. As far as a European audience is concerned (and certainly a Swedish one, I’m sure) it is all too tame.

Comedy-wise, it’s laboured and fails to make the most of the ensemble of characters. All the time the non-Swedish character slows the action down with the necessity of speaking English. Even though he had been invited by Emil, as part of his plans for Susanne, the idea of introducing Sam has a deadening effect rather than an enlivening one. Even though it livens-up a bit towards the end, it is, on the whole, rather boring (with the overall feel more of a home-movie than a ‘real’ film) and only barely worth the watching.