The King’s Choice aka Kongens Nei, by Harald Rosenlow-Eeg and Jan Trygve Royneland
This is a film that will not arrive at a theater near you, anytime soon, but maybe you can see it on Netflix or Cinemax, the latter was the channel that gave us the opportunity here.
As the title suggests, the king has a choice in this feature, which deals with a tragic period in the history of Norway and the planet, during the World War II, but it is not a situation in which he has any happy option.
The Nazis have attacked this country, as well as so much of Europe and the rulers have to retreat in the face of the overwhelming, considerably more powerful Wehrmacht, but they do not abandon the fight.
There is a loathsome, despised figure, Vidkun Quisling, who is a Nazi sympathizer in the manner of Petain, Antonescu, Miklos Horthy and so many other collaborators that have supported the fascists, their deportations, massacres and policies of extermination in a number of occupied lands.
King aka Kong Haakon VII is horrified by this politician and when the time comes, he rejects the idea of having this stooge rule the country he loves for the occupiers and his majesty opts for exile if there is no alternative.
The invaders play dirty, because while they impose their presence on the ground, under their appalling terms, they also pretend they want to negotiate, with one exception, Curt Brauer may be sincere.
This German official appears to respect Norwegians and their royalty, at least to a much greater extent than the rest of the Nazi, emphasizing that his son was born in Norway and trying to prevent bloodshed.
The royal family moves away from Oslo, trying to avoid capture at the hands of the fascists, staying away behind the frontline for as long as possible and meeting some of the soldiers, many of them very young.
As they drive in the cars near the troops, king Haakon VII talks to one of the Norwegian soldiers, Menig Fredrik Seeberg and when the issue of the fight for the king comes up, his royal highness talks about Norway:
“Alt for Norge aka All for Norway”
This was the motto for his majesty Haakon VII and his son, who would be crowned as Olav V, and then the present day ruler, Harald V., would adopt it.
Curt Brauer is played by a phenomenal actor, Karl Markovics, best known for his outstanding performance in the acclaimed Counterfeiters, wherein he had a role of a prisoner abused by the Nazis.
Curt Brauer wants to meet with the Norwegian king and offer him a special choice, a way out that the German thinks is optimal, indeed the only solution that would not involve many deaths and continuing fighting and tries to contact the royal family, through the only official he finds at the government building in the capital.
The government, not the alternative organized by Quisling, has also left Oslo, but they are aware of the high cost in human life, economical damage and destruction that the prolongation of the conflict would involve.
Therefore, a meeting with the king is organized, Brauer is driven to a point in the forest, but before he gets there, the other Nazis, in charge of the army, mention that he will be able to see that they actually have other plans.
As he meets the Norwegian guards, the German is blindfolded, so that he would be able to disclose the whereabouts of the royal family and the government officials, an effort that would prove futile.
King Haakon and a few members of his government meet Curt Brauer and the latter insists on meeting his royal highness in private, which prompts the objection of the officials and makes his majesty uncertain.
The Nazi representative insists that this is a special occasion and he has a solution that is the last chance and he gets to talk to the king and wants the royal person to sign an agreement that does not really mean too much, even if it is supposed to save Norwegian lives if the terms are accepted.
King Haakon VII says something extraordinary, that he was democratically elected and he does not choose to undermine this system by taking a decision like this on his own and therefore he knocks at the door to bring the officials in.
This effort as failed, the German envoy is taken blindfolded to his car and as soon as he leaves, German planes start attacking the premises, bombing the buildings where the king, royal family and officials with their families, women and children have found refuge and killing people and injuring civilians.
This is a very good film about values, morals and role models, people who have most, if not all the Character Strengths identified by positive psychology:
Wisdom- Perspective, Open- mindedness, Curiosity, Creativity, Love of Learning-
Courage – Integrity, Bravery, Vitality, Persistence
Humanity – Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence
Transcendence – Appreciation of beauty and excellence, Hope, Gratitude, Humor, Spirituality
Temperance – Humility/ Modesty, Pity/ Forgiveness, Prudence, Self-regulation
Justice Fairness, Citizenship, Leadership