Breaking free

69-thelma Film: Thelma Norwegian, 2017

Thelma is a lonely teenager who has just moved to Oslo to continue her studies. Raised as a devout Christian by her overbearing but affable parents, she finds it hard to get used to the university, and almost everything and everyone around her. Her life begins to change when she finds a friend in Anja, a fellow student who develops a liking for her, and Thelma starts to break free from parental and religious fetters.

Thelma experiences unexplainable seizures when she begins to fall for Anja. While trying to find the reasons for her seizures, she realises that she is in possession of abilities that are beyond her control—powers that caused some terrible tragedies when she was a child.

From the terrifying opening sequence to a rather subdued climax, Thelma, directed by Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier, explores the themes of forbidden desires and religious fundamentalism by perfectly blending the real with the surreal to craft a flawless art-house thriller. The movie, which was screened at various international film festivals and was nominated for the Academy Awards 2018 in the foreign films category, works both as a supernatural horror flick sans jump scares, and a coming-of-age drama of a girl who was thus far enslaved by a distorted sense of morality foisted by religion.