Thelma (2017 film)

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Thelma (2017 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joachim Trier
Produced by Thomas Robsahm
Screenplay by
  • Eili Harboe
  • Kaya Wilkins
  • Henrik Rafaelsen
  • Ellen Dorrit Petersen
Music by Ola Fløttum
Cinematography Jakob Ihre
Edited by Olivier Bugge Coutté
Distributed by SF Studios (Scandinavia)
Release date
Running time
116 minutes
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • France
Language Norwegian
Budget $5.8 million[1]
Box office $1.4 million[2][3]

Thelma is a 2017 Norwegian supernatural horror drama film directed by Joachim Trier. The screenplay was written by Trier and Eskil Vogt. The film stars Eili Harboe, Kaya Wilkins, Henrik Rafaelsen, and Ellen Dorrit Petersen. Thelma tells the story of a sheltered young woman who discovers she has an inexplicable power that materializes when she feels desire for a female student at her university.

Thelma had its world premiere at the Norwegian International Film Festival on 20 August 2017.[4][5] The film held its international premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival as a Special Presentation screening on 9 September 2017.[6][7][8] It premiered in the United States at Fantastic Fest on 21 September 2017,[9][10][11] followed by the United Kingdom premiere at the BFI London Film Festival as a Cult Gala presentation on 14 October 2017.[12][13][14] The film was released in theatres in Norway on 15 September 2017.

Thelma was selected as the Norwegian entry for the Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards,[15][16][17] but did not receive the nomination.[18][19]


Thelma is a lonely young woman from a religious family who has lived a sheltered life and struggles to make friends. After moving to Oslo to attend university, she meets another student, Anja, and falls in love with her. Thelma soon discovers that her feelings for Anja trigger telekinetic powers.


  • Eili Harboe as Thelma
    • Grethe Eltervåg as young Thelma
  • Kaya Wilkins as Anja
  • Henrik Rafaelsen as Trond
  • Ellen Dorrit Petersen as Unni


Thelma was produced by Thomas Robsahm of Norwegian production company Motlys, and co-produced by Film Väst, Filmpool Nord and B-Reel (Sweden), Snowglobe Film (Denmark), and Le Pacte (France); with financial support provided by the Norwegian Film Institute, Swedish Film Institute, Danish Film Institute, Copenhagen Film Fund, Nordic Film & TV Fund, Eurimages, and MEDIA Programme.[20]

Production began on 20 September 2016 and lasted 44 days.[20] Filming locations included Oslo in Norway, and Västra Götaland, Gothenburg, Trollhättan and Kiruna in Sweden.[20][21]

The production budget was 5,009,000 (47 million NOK, 5.8 million USD).[1]



Thelma was released theatrically in Norway on 15 September 2017.[22][23] It was released in the United Kingdom on 3 November 2017,[24][25] followed by release in the United States on 10 November 2017.[26][27]

In April 2017, The Orchard acquired the North American distribution rights to the film.[28][29] Distribution rights to the United Kingdom was acquired by Thunderbird Releasing in August 2017.[30]

Home media[edit]

The DVD for Region 2 and Blu-ray for Region B was released by SF Studios in Scandinavia on 4 December 2017.[31][32] They were released in the UK by Thunderbird Releasing on 26 February 2018.[33][34] In Region 1 the DVD was released by The Orchard through Passion River Films on 3 April 2018.[35][36]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Thelma holds an approval rating of 92% based on 127 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Thelma plays with genre tropes in unexpected ways, delivering a thoughtfully twisty supernatural thriller with a lingering impact."[37] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[38] On IndieWire's annual critics poll of best films and performances, Thelma was selected a "Critics Pick" for Best Foreign Language Film.[39]

Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times that Thelma is "a romance, a psychological thriller, a liberation story and a whodunit (and why) ... and most satisfyingly, it plays with the female Gothic ... in which women are at once the victims and agents of change", praising Joachim Trier with having "a great talent for making loneliness visceral and visible, for showing how pain can make the world disappear."[40] In the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang said the film was a "muted and moody supernatural chiller" that is "thoughtful and beautifully composed" with sequences "that tap into a vividly primal sense of terror."[41]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian described Thelma as "an uncanny accumulation of mood, an ecstasy of disquiet" and the performance by Eili Harboe as "outstandingly good".[42] AfterEllen praised the performance by Harboe as "exhilarating, and incredibly moving", and said that "In a sea of lesbian films that are often repetitive, Thelma explores analytical territory that none other has before."[43]

Bilge Ebiri of The Village Voice described the film's story as moving "away from the monstrous, toward compassion and understanding ... prob[ing] the profound underlying sadness beneath tales of possession" and "makes vivid the protagonist’s loneliness and despair."[44] David Ehrlich wrote in IndieWire that Thelma was a "an ominous, unnerving, and strangely powerful thriller about the most devious of human desires" and "consistently keyed in to the persuasive power of the female body." [45]

The Verge said Thelma was a "quietly beautiful film" and "a thriller that’s scary, sad, and ultimately triumphant", with cinematography that is "visually ... striking throughout".[46] The Hollywood Reporter said it contained "intelligent, measured tone and elegant visual style" and "while the more enigmatic supernatural elements at times veer close to formulaic Hollywood horror tropes, the movie maintains a compelling seriousness, particularly in its consideration of the conflict between sexuality and repression."[47] Variety described the film as "an unnervingly effective slow-burn, and those with the patience for Trier’s patient accumulation of detail will find it pays off in unexpected ways."[48] Margaret Barton-Fumo from Film Comment summarized Thelma as "a romantic film that pays close attention to physical detail", and "Surprisingly tender, [it] proves itself a modern take on the supernatural film."[49]

Box office[edit]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref
Norwegian International Film Festival
20 August 2017
Norwegian Critics Prize Thelma Won [50][51]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards
11 January 2018
Best Foreign Language Film Thelma Nominated [52][53]
Kosmorama International Film Festival
8 March 2018
Best Picture Thelma Nominated [54][55]
Best Producer Thomas Robsahm Nominated
Best Director Joachim Trier Nominated
Best Actress Eili Harboe Won
Best Actor Henrik Rafaelsen Won
Best Screenplay Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier Nominated
Best Production Design Roger Rosenberg Nominated
Best Film Music Ola Fløttum Won
Best Editing Olivier Bugge Coutts Won
Best Sound Design Gisle Tveito Nominated
GLAAD Media Award
12 April 2018
Outstanding Film – Limited Release Thelma Nominated [56][57]
Amanda Award
18 August 2018
Best Norwegian Movie Thelma Nominated [58][59]
Best Director Joachim Trier Nominated
Best Actress Eili Harboe Nominated
Best Actor Henrik Rafaelsen Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kaya Wilkins Nominated
Best Screenplay Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier Nominated
Best Cinematography Jakob Ihre Nominated
Best Production Design/Scenography Roger Rosenberg Nominated
Best Visual Effects Esben Syberg (Shortcut) Nominated
Best Music Ola Fløttum Nominated
Best Editing Olivier Bugge Coutts Nominated
Best Sound Design Gisle Tveito Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Facts & Figures 2017" (PDF). Danish Film Institute. February 2018. p. 8. Retrieved 29 June 2018. 
  2. ^ "Thelma". Box Office Mojo. Amazon. 24 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.  (Box office total based on manual addition of BOM grosses.)
  3. ^ "Thelma". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.  (Box office total underrepresented.)
  4. ^ Pressemeldinger (Press Release) (11 July 2017). "Thelma åpner Den norske filmfestivalen". Den Norske Filmfestivalen i Haugesund (in Norwegian). Retrieved 24 June 2018. Thelma Opens the Norwegian Film Festival. 
  5. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (July 19, 2017). "Joachim Trier's 'Thelma' Opens Nordic Encounter in Haugesund". Variety. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  6. ^ "Thelma". Toronto International Film Festival. 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  7. ^ Grierson, Tim (9 September 2017). "'Thelma': Toronto Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  8. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (July 25, 2017). "Toronto Film Festival 2017 Unveils Strong Slate". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Thelma". Fantastic Fest. 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  10. ^ Collis, Clark (September 6, 2017). "A student gains supernatural abilities in Thelma trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  11. ^ Galgana, Michele (September 22, 2017). "Fantastic Fest 2017 Review: THELMA Thrills With Lust and Existentialism". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  12. ^ "Thelma". BFI London Film Festival. British Film Institute. 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018. 
  13. ^ "Calendar" (PDF). BFI London Film Festival 2017. British Film Institute. 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018. 
  14. ^ "Norwegian film at London Film Festival". Norwegian Arts. Royal Norwegian Embassy. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018. 
  15. ^ Alnes, Espen (5 September 2017). "«Thelma» blir den norske Oscar-kandidaten". NRK (in Norwegian). Retrieved 6 September 2017. "Thelma" the Norwegian Oscar candidate. 
  16. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (September 6, 2017). "Joachim Trier's 'Thelma' Chosen by Norway for Foreign-Language Oscar". Variety. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  17. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (6 September 2017). "Thelma and her supernatural powers put forward for the Oscars". Cineuropa. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  18. ^ Kilday, Gregg (5 October 2017). "Oscars: 92 Films Submitted in Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 June 2018. 
  19. ^ Kilday, Gregg (14 December 2017). "Oscars: Academy Unveils Foreign-Language Film Shortlist". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 June 2018. 
  20. ^ a b c Mitchell, Wendy (21 September 2016). "Le Pacte joins Joachim Trier's 'Thelma'". Screen Daily. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  21. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (26 October 2016). "Joachim Trier shooting Thelma". Cineuropa. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  22. ^ "Her er den norske filmhøsten". Norsk filminstitutt (in Norwegian). 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018. Here are autumn Norwegian films. 
  23. ^ Thelma [@thelmafilmen] (15 September 2017). "Endelig premiere i dag!" (in Norwegian). Facebook. Retrieved 25 June 2018. Finally premiere today! 
  24. ^ "Thelma". Launching Films. Film Distributors' Association. 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  25. ^ Thunderbird Releasing [@TBirdReleasing] (2 November 2017). "Featuring an "outstanding performance" from Eili Harboe (@guardianfilm) telekinetic thriller #Thelma is out tomorrow". Twitter. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  26. ^ Davis, Edward (September 5, 2017). "'Thelma' Exclusive: New Poster For Joachim Trier's Supernatural Drama". The Playlist. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  27. ^ Thelma Film US [@ThelmaFilmUS] (8 September 2017). "Sometimes the most terrifying discovery is who you really are—Discover Thelma on November 10". Twitter. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  28. ^ Press Release (20 April 2017). "The Orchard Lands Joachim Trier's Supernatural Thriller "Thelma"". The Orchard. Retrieved 29 June 2018. 
  29. ^ Lang, Brent; Keslassy, Elsa (April 20, 2017). "The Orchard Nabs Joachim Trier's Supernatural Thriller 'Thelma' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  30. ^ Grater, Tom (31 August 2017). "Joachim Trier's 'Thelma' gets UK deal (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  31. ^ Berge, John (19 October 2017). "Høstutgivelser 2017 fra SF Studios på Blu-ray og DVD". VIDEOMAGASINET (in Norwegian). JB Forlag. Retrieved 25 June 2018. Fall Releases 2017 from SF Studios on Blu-ray and DVD 
  32. ^ "Thelma Blu-ray". 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018. 
  33. ^ "Supernatural Thriller THELMA Released". Horror Island UK. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  34. ^ "Thelma Blu-ray (UK)". 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  35. ^ "Thelma". Passion River Films. 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  36. ^ "Thelma DVD". 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  37. ^ "Thelma". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2018. 
  38. ^ "Thelma". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  39. ^ Kohn, Eric (December 19, 2017). "2017 Critics Poll: The Best Films and Performances According to Over 200 Critics". IndieWire. Retrieved 25 June 2018. 
  40. ^ Dargis, Manohla (November 9, 2017). "Review: In 'Thelma,' a Woman in Love Can Burn Down the World". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  41. ^ Chang, Justin (November 22, 2017). "Joachim Trier's supernatural thriller 'Thelma' takes an unsettling look at religion and sexuality". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  42. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (2 November 2017). "Thelma review – telekinetic lesbian drama is scary, sexy and cool". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  43. ^ Pitts, Ciara (December 18, 2017). "Sapphic Cinema: 'Thelma' is a Liberating Lesbian Love Story". AfterEllen. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  44. ^ Ebiri, Bilge (November 8, 2017). ""Thelma" Skips the Jump Scares, But It's Still Deeply Disturbing". The Village Voice. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  45. ^ Erhlich, David (September 9, 2017). "'Thelma' Review: Ingmar Bergman Meets Stephen King in Joachim Trier's Beguiling Lesbian Horror Movie". IndieWire. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  46. ^ Bishop, Bryan (November 10, 2017). "Thelma is a superhero horror movie about the terror of growing up". The Verge. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  47. ^ Rooney, David (September 9, 2017). "'Thelma': Film Review – TIFF 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  48. ^ Barker, Andrew (September 15, 2017). "Film Review: 'Thelma'". Variety. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  49. ^ Barton-Fumo, Margaret (November–December 2017). "Short Take: Thelma". Film Comment. Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved 29 June 2018. 
  50. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing; Pham, Annika (August 24, 2017). "Haugesund: Joachim Trier's 'Thelma' Takes Norwegian Critics' Prize". Variety. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  51. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (25 August 2017). "Thelma wins over Norwegian critics in Haugesund". Cineuropa. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  52. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (December 6, 2017). "'Shape of Water' Leads Critics' Choice Film Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  53. ^ "Complete list of nominees and winners for the 23rd Critics' Choice Awards". Los Angeles Times. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  54. ^ "Her er de nominerte til Kanonprisen 2018 – Thelma og Hva vil folk si leder an". Montages (in Norwegian). 8 February 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018. Here are the nominees for Kanonprisen 2018 – Thelma and What Will People Say leads the way. 
  55. ^ "Dette er vinnerne av Kanonprisen!". Kosmorama Trondheim International Film Festival (in Norwegian). March 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018. These are the winners of Kanonprisen! 
  56. ^ Grossman, Lena (January 19, 2018). "Here Are the 2018 GLAAD Media Awards Nominees". Time. Retrieved 25 June 2018. 
  57. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (May 5, 2018). "GLAAD Media Awards: 'Call Me by Your Name' Wins Best Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 June 2018. 
  58. ^ Pressemeldinger (Press Release) (20 June 2018). "Amandaprisen 2018: Flest nominasjoner til «Thelma»". Den Norske Filmfestivalen i Haugesund (in Norwegian). Retrieved 24 June 2018. Amanda Award 2018: Most Nominations to "Thelma". 
  59. ^ "Joachim Trier's Thelma Tops Amanda Nominations". Nordic Drama. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]