Karla & Katrine spend a summer vacation together.
Karla & Katrine is the second in a series of films based on the novels of Renée Toft Simonsen about a young Danish girl in her tween years. The film focuses on the relationship between Karla (Elena Arndt-Jensen) and her best friend Katrine (Nanna Koppel) which had become estranged due to events from the first film, where Karla’s family went through considerable changes after her parents divorced. Now Karla’s mom Rikki (Ellen Hillingsø) has a new husband Leif (Nicolaj Kopernikus), who is trying to gain acceptance in his new family, which also includes Karla’s younger brothers Mads Morten (Nikolaj Støvring Hansen) and Lillebror (Lasse Guldberg Kamper). As the film opens, Karla would like nothing more than to regain her friendship with Katrine, who has been stand-offish to her at school since the time of the divorce, when Karla had neglected their friendship. With the coming of summer break, Karla’s family will be going off to a vacation in their lakeside cabin in rural Denmark. Karla would really like have Katrine join them. There are scenes when Karla is not sure whether Katrine can go, and when she can, she comes late to their departure time because her sleeping bag was elsewhere. Also along at the last minute is Rikke’s high maintenance friend Dolly (Therese Glahn), due to troubles in her personal life, and much to the dismay of Leif.
Karla’s mom Rikki consoles her when she is worried about Katrine accepting her invitation.
The cabin is very primitive for city people, having only an outhouse which becomes a source of humor in the film as Liliebror is obsessed with watching people inside it and perhaps making viewers wonder why toilet humor seems to always be a component of films with young boys. Mads Morten has his obsession too; he is trying to catch a mythical pike in the lake, who he has named Luke. Leif has a project of his own, rebuilding a storage shed, but instead of getting the help he expected from Rikke, finds that she is spending all her time with Dolly, listening to her problems. None of this matters to Karla and Katrine, as they renew their friendship and become close again. The next phase of the story begins as the two friends are walking through the woods to the small town nearby and are accosted by two older teens who want to collect a toll from them for passing. Luckily for the girls, another boy shows up, twelve-year-old Jonas (Joshua Berman) who is able to drive the teens off and escort the girls to town. It turns out that Jonas has a checkered past himself, placed in a children’s home for stealing, and visiting the lake in the care of temporary foster parents. Worse yet, the local store has suffered a series of break-ins; alcohol, cigarettes, and DVDs were stolen. Due to his past, Jonas is suspected as the culprit by the store owner and the police, although he insists that he is innocent.
The girls meet Jonas, who is staying nearby with foster parents.
As they get to know each other, Karla soon develops a crush on Jonas, who is charming in his own right. This ends up causing another rift to develop between Karla and Katrine, as she feels excluded from the attention that Karla and Jonas suddenly have for each other. She again feels that she doesn’t exist in Karla’s world. Despite her jealously, Katrine goes along with the others as they discover who the real thieves are, and later hope to catch them in the act at the store when they next return to repeat their crimes. This is the only way that the store owner and police will believe them. The clearing of Jonas’ name, the rebuilding of Karla and Katrine’s friendship, and the solving of family issues at the lake house make up the bulk of the film.
Jonas comes to their assistance when Karla & Katrine are hassled by two older boys.
While Karla’s extended family provides the comic relief in Karla & Katrine, all the drama in the film focuses on its three main characters, Karla, Katrine, and Jonas. All three young actors do a great job, and have an onscreen charisma that appeals to movie goers of all ages. One of the things that makes this film work, is that it has some good interaction between the characters, but isn’t overloaded with too much happening in the script, so it seems like their experiences would match those of typical kids on a summer vacation. The cinematography and direction are also first rate, balancing the look of the film, its pace, and focus on the three main characters so you become engaged with the lives of Karla, Katrine, and Jonas. While Karla & Katrine isn’t a great film, it is a engaging and fun family film, and a nice look at life in Denmark.
Karla & Katrine are lying down on the pier by the lake.
Close up of Karla’s red high top chucks as she hikes through the woods.
Elena Arndt-Jensen in her role as Karla, wears red high top chucks throughout the film. The camera work is particularly chucks-friendly in this film, and there are a lot of close ups of Karla walking and running around in her chucks.
Karla & Katrine seated on the pier for the lake.
Besides those action scenes, there is a good camera shot of Karla’s chucks as she is seated on the edge of the pier for the lake. As it pans up you see their reflection in the dark water of the lake.
The camera gives us a close up of Karla’s red high top chucks as she walks into her house.
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