Author Topic: Stockholm, Pennsylvania  (Read 628 times)

Gabby

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Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« on: July 22, 2017, 04:10:54 AM »
I had to bring Stockholm, Pennsylvania up here. I was watching The Patriot a couple of days ago, with Jason Isaacs, and thought of it. Has anyone managed to watch it? I'm forever bitter it isn't streaming anywhere.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 04:13:58 AM by Gabby »
"I just missed your heart."

MarkRoick

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2017, 07:46:17 AM »
I've seen it, two or three times actually. Managed to find a torrent not long after it was aired in the US. There was some talk about it in the 'rank Saoirse's performances' thread.

Not many people seemed to like it, and it is quite a difficult film to watch, but it's quite like Brooklyn in that so much of her performance is quiet and introspective. My biggest issue with it is the direction that the story takes in the last half. So it's a great performance, in a not so great movie.

Did you watch The OA on Netflix? Jason Isaacs and Emory Cohen were both in it!
“You need to do what’s right for you and what your instinct is telling you to do, because only then, I think, you can be the best version of yourself.” - Saoirse

MMSouth

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2017, 09:38:20 AM »
I have a copy of Stockholm Pennsylvania from an online shop in the USA.  I don't think its been officially released on DVD.  The copy I have is actually a CD-ROM made from a cable TV screening.  I can play it on my computer.  The quality is fine.  Link pasted below.  The two scenes between Saoirse and Jason Issacs are the highlights.  Those two scenes contain some of Saoirse's best acting.

https://www.ioffer.com/selling/raredocumentaries12?query=Stockholm

jlent

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2017, 11:31:45 AM »
I bought it on Amazon streaming. I watched it again after all the comments here. I still didn't really much care for it, though Saoirse's performance is better than I had remembered, which at the time I had thought was basically one note.
It was more nuanced the second time around with even a few emotional break outs to lift her from the catatonic state in which she spends much of the movie.
The scenes with Isaac are very good. The scenes with mom get more interesting until the film goes crazy.

MMSouth

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2017, 10:44:35 AM »
Below is a link to one of the best interviews with Saoirse that I've come across.  It dates from Sundance 2015 and focuses on S-P and Brooklyn.  It really clarifies the way that Nikole Beckwith and Saoirse approached the character of Leia in S-P.

https://www.sundance.org/blogs/artist-spotlight/portraits-of-the-artist-as-a-young-woman-saoirse-ronan-in-brooklyn-and-stockholm-pennsylvania

In Nikole Beckwith’s Stockholm, Pennsylvania, she plays Leia, a woman who’s returned to her parents and childhood home two decades after being abducted and raised by a kidnapper. She’s effectively an alien to her parents – she hasn’t been outside of a basement bunker in years, doesn’t know how to engage in public or social settings, and espouses a hippie apocalyptic belief system – but she’s also a smart, fully formed young adult. Hard as her parents try to re-raise her, to train her into being a dependent child again, she’s grown into her own, albeit disoriented, person.

This seems like a real turning point for you as an actress, and that these two unique films, with two very distinct characters for you to play, have begun a new chapter for you.

I did them back-to-back last year, and they’re both important to me, mainly because they’re so centered around women, and so focused on a woman’s story. And one, Stockholm, Pennsylvania, was written and directed by one of the most amazing women I know, Nikole Beckwith.

What was it like working with her, considering it was her first feature?

Nikole gained an awful lot of respect immediately from everyone. What struck me is that she’s so clear and dead-set about what she wants, and she won’t veer away from that. I didn’t feel that I was necessarily tied down to anything, but that she was so clear on what this story was and what she needed, and my role was very clear too. And the fact that it was such a short shoot, and that the story itself was so incredibly intimate between just a handful of characters, really set the atmosphere from the off [that the character was something] we could work on together.

Your character, Leia, is something of an alien to people, and likely to the audience as well. And yet, despite her incredibly strange situation and upbringing, she seems to know herself quite well, and isn’t at all alienated from herself.

She’s very clear on who she is. Her captor has given her so much, and helped her to grow in some senses in a very mature way. She’s very smart and in touch with how she feels about things. He instills a lot of positive elements to her personality. But then at the same time when we see her arrive at her parents house, she’s been told her entire life that the world is a horrible terrible place, and she’s never seen the sunlight, never seen a tree. It’s such a shock for her, because she’s literally been kept in a box for her entire life. So there’s a mixture of her being incredibly sure of who she is, and then at the same time being thrown into this world of uncertainty.

I kind of like the idea that the audience is going to look at this and maybe be frustrated with her a little bit, that she’s not giving everything away to them. There’s not an inner monologue all the time that explains exactly how this captive child is feeling now that she’s out in the big bad world for the first time. It’s something that’s left for them to figure out on their own. That’s kind of the beauty of her character. I remember saying to Nikole, from the off, that there isn’t really an arc with this character. She doesn’t really change that much, and that’s the first time I’ve played someone who for the whole way through has stayed pretty much the same, and it’s the situation around her that has changed.

Did you find it psychologically taxing to play her, considering all of that, and considering it was such a short, intense, 19-day shoot?

I wouldn’t say I found it taxing, but there were times when you want the character to progress a bit, you want her to have some sort of eureka moment, and what I needed to remember, and what Nikole was great at reminding me of, was that she doesn’t change. She’s who she is, and that’s the way she needs to stay. And I think a lot of the time, as humans and as audience members, we want a character to change. And when that doesn’t happen it can become quite frustrating, either for us to watch on a screen or in real life. So it’s an interesting experiment to see how people will react.

jlent

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2017, 08:32:48 PM »
Did you find it psychologically taxing to play her, considering all of that, and considering it was such a short, intense, 19-day shoot?

I wouldn’t say I found it taxing, but there were times when you want the character to progress a bit, you want her to have some sort of eureka moment, and what I needed to remember, and what Nikole was great at reminding me of, was that she doesn’t change. She’s who she is, and that’s the way she needs to stay. And I think a lot of the time, as humans and as audience members, we want a character to change. And when that doesn’t happen it can become quite frustrating, either for us to watch on a screen or in real life. So it’s an interesting experiment to see how people will react.

I don't think it was intentional but Saoirse here seems to be explaining, in her thoughtful and generous way, why the film didn't work. I think of one of the grimmest movies I've seen in recent years, "Manchester by the Sea." People mistakenly claimed the film had no arc. It wasn't true; there is a large arc to the character, it just wasn't over a great distance. It may have just been from point A to point B but the gulf between those two was emotionally immense.
Stockholm didn't have one, so it was a 90-minute slog.
It's also interesting the movie not mentioned here from this piece is Brooklyn, a rather more substantial effort.

MarkRoick

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 08:49:21 AM »
Check out the original link jlent, some nice words about Brooklyn in there.

I tend to agree with you on the subject of the (lack of) character arc in this movie. Interestingly it is the mother character who really changes, when that third act plot point happens, and you know that there's going to be no happy ending.

The part where Leia asks her, "Is this how we love?" is absolutely heartbreaking.
“You need to do what’s right for you and what your instinct is telling you to do, because only then, I think, you can be the best version of yourself.” - Saoirse

jlent

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2017, 10:44:19 AM »
Check out the original link jlent, some nice words about Brooklyn in there.
I did and you're right. I think I might have read that back in Sundance days. Coming into that festival there was buzz about both Stockholm and Brooklyn but coming out of it there was talk only for Brooklyn. Then everything went silent for months. It wasn't until the summer we got the announcement Brooklyn would play TIFF and things got crazy again. But that's for another board.
I've seen Stockholm twice now. It was better the second time because I knew what to expect and was mildly surprised there was more nuance the second time around and Saoirse plays more than just a catatonic zombie all the time. But I still didn't love it. And mom going nuts took me right out of caring.

MMSouth

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2017, 11:40:48 AM »
It’s interesting that Saoirse says it was Nikole Beckwith’s firm intention that Leia should not display any emotional growth.  So the film really was something of an experiment.  Quite a brave move for a first time filmmaker.  Note that Saoirse and Nikole Beckwith were actually really good mates through 2014/15/16.  At times they hung out together when Saoirse was in the US.  Not sure how close they are these days.

As I alluded to in a previous post I think the most heartbreaking moment in S-P is when Leia leaves her ID card on the bus.  Earlier we saw her use it at the security check when being admitted to the prison.  So the real meaning of her leaving it on the bus is that she never intends to see Ben again.  In a sense she’s reassessed him and rejected him.  That’s her biggest emotional step in the entire film.

I still think that the final scene of S-P is incongruous because it does actually feature a change in Leia’s character.  It’s one of the few times that she even thinks of acting proactively. 

I tend to think the following two comments from this interview give a strong clue as to why Saoirse has taken on Sweetness in the Belly.  The script and character must mean something to her, especially the relationships between the women.

This seems like a real turning point for you as an actress, and that these two unique films [S-P and Brooklyn], with two very distinct characters for you to play, have begun a new chapter for you.
I did them back-to-back last year, and they’re both important to me, mainly because they’re so centered around women, and so focused on a woman’s story.

So you’re feeling things out as anyone would, but you’ve also been doing this long enough that I’d imagine you have some sense of where you’d like to be going in your career.
Yeah, I guess so. I never wanted to churn out work. I never wanted to just go from one thing to the next thing just for the sake of working. So I still very much have the attitude that it has to be the right thing, otherwise there’s no point in doing it. Because if you’re in the situation where you don’t fully 100% believe in something that you’re supposed to be emotionally invested in, it’s the worst position to be in. You want to love going to work every morning.

Below is a link to another interesting Saoirse interview on S-P.   It was published in May 2015 when S-P was first screened on Lifetime in the US.

https://www.yahoo.com/tv/saoirse-ronan-talks-abut-lifetime-movie-stockholm-118457891030.html

MMSouth

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Re: Stockholm, Pennsylvania
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2018, 10:45:52 PM »
It occurred to me the other day why Leia runs away from home in the last few minutes of S-P.  Her mother Marcy has given her a stationary exercise bike and we see her looking quite serious as she’s riding it in her room during a “solitary week” imposed by Marcy.  Earlier when she visited Ben in prison he said something along the lines of no matter what the consequences he would always want to “see the mile” rather than run in place.  So she decides to follow his philosophy and see the mile rather than running/riding in place.  The exercise bike is like an allegory for her life with Marcy.  Despite rejecting Ben (when she leaves her ID card on the bus on her way back from the prison), in the end she embraces his world view, which is really the ultimate rejection of her mother.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 10:48:57 PM by MMSouth »