Handle with Care, written and directed by Arild Andresen
Handle with Care is an interesting Norwegian film.
It raises some questions about happiness, a subject that the Nordics know about, seeing as they top the charts for wellbeing.
In fact, Norway was at the top on the life satisfaction survey list last year and it was surpassed by their neighbor, Finland for the latest statistics.
The protagonist, Kjetil raises the question, although from the other perspective, talking about his country as place that is often cold, dark, in opposition with the more cheerful Columbia.
Daniel is an adopted child and Kjetil is his stepfather who does not know what to do when his wife, the boy’s mother dies and he is facing the perspective of being a parent to this child.
He does not think he can cope with it – and many might understand this, raising a child or more is the most difficult endeavor we could probably think of and besides, it is not as rewarding as generally thought- in fact, when teenagers leave their homes, levels of happiness…increase.
Therefore, Kjetil travels to the other side of the world, the sunny but poorer Columbia to find the biological mother of the boy and a better solution, like having her take back the child she might have abandoned out of necessity, in a moment of terrible adversity perhaps.
In terms of wellbeing, some might say that countries with such a pleasant climate, warm weather and cheerful populations would top the happiness charts, only they do not, for other reasons that include a lack of trust – which is high in the happy countries in the North of Europe – and huge differences in income and wealth, among other factors.
In Columbia, Kjetil and Daniel meet Tavo, a character of great importance – translator, guide, and driver – although his car would not start at times, even in some dangerous context – thinker, philosopher and tremendous adviser.
The hero tries to find the biological mother in various, poor sectors, including at a charity organization where he comes into severe conflict with the apparently religious, American sponsors of the outfit.
When the Norwegian asks about the biological mother, the women working there refuse to respond, in spite of his continuous efforts and demands, which end up with the infamous:
The protagonist outlines the outré situation, stating that people travel from the South, the poorer countries – look at the migration crisis at the border of the United Sates, where the First Lady – so suited to her orange spouse – has just visited in a coat saying “I don’t care”- to the Northern, richer lands.
In this voyage of discovery and finding the origins, Kjetil manages to find Redemption, and understands himself better, following the ancient, quintessential message from Socrates:
A strong bond is created between the family of Tavo and the charming boy, Daniel, and ultimately, the Norwegian discovers strong feelings and emotions for the child within himself…
“All’s Well That Ends Well”