Dramatising the turbulence and ambiguity of custody battles with emotional precision and complexity, Charter focuses on a mother’s impulsive decision to abscond with her estranged children to a holiday resort, and the consequences of her actions.
In this vividly tense and realist follow-up to her outstanding debut feature Sami Blood (NZIFF17), writer/director Amanda Kernell deftly considers the fraught intersection of motherhood and self-determination.
It’s been months since Alice has seen her children when she gets a distressed call from her young son. She races north to ensure her children’s safety, only to find her bitter ex-husband prohibiting her from seeing them. With only a week until the final custody verdict, Alice makes the desperate decision to abduct her children and spend the week vacationing together in the Canary Islands, reconnecting and convincing them she can be a good mother, whatever that means.
Charter is at once a stressful character drama, a mother-daughter love story, and a frenetic on-the-run film about betrayal and forgiveness. Ane Dahl Torp is excellent as the magnetic, complex Alice, an imperfect mother torn between independence and responsibility. First-time actor Tintin Poggats Sarri, too, is a standout as Alice’s surly 14-year-old daughter, Elina. Throughout the film, Alice and Elina perform a delicate dance of trust, heightened by the daunting possibility that their illegal escapade could fall apart at any moment. — Amanda Jane Robinson
About the Filmmaker
Swedish filmmaker Amanda Kernell is a trained director of the National Film School of Denmark and has made several award-winning short films. Sami Blood (2016), her feature film debut, premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won the Europa Cinemas Label for Best European Film, among other international festival prizes. Charter is her second feature film.