Thelma (2017 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thelma (2017 film).jpg
United States theatrical release poster
Directed byJoachim Trier
Screenplay by
Produced byThomas Robsahm
CinematographyJakob Ihre
Edited byOlivier Bugge Coutté
Music byOla Fløttum
Distributed bySF Studios (Scandinavia)
Release dates
  • 20 August 2017 (2017-08-20) (Norwegian International Film Festival)
  • 15 September 2017 (2017-09-15) (Norway)
  • 3 November 2017 (2017-11-03) (United Kingdom)
  • 10 November 2017 (2017-11-10) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • France
Box office$1.5 million[2][3]

Thelma is a 2017 Norwegian supernatural thriller 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 was selected as the Norwegian entry for the Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards,[4][5][6] but did not receive the nomination.[7][8]


Thelma is a lonely and repressed young woman from an ultra-religious Christian family who has lived a sheltered life under the protection of her father, Trond, and disabled mother, Unni. She struggles to make friends and soon after moving to Oslo to attend university begins to experience unexplained epileptic seizures. When she meets another student, Anja, she discovers that her feelings for Anja trigger uncontrollable psychokinetic powers. Thelma suffers much guilt over her feelings for Anja, and wishes she was not in love with her.

While undergoing a brain tomography test to find the cause of her seizures, she begins to think about Anja and as she focuses on her, Thelma's power is set in motion and she unconsciously and unwittingly makes Anja vanish into empty space. Distraught and confused by Anja's sudden disappearance, Thelma returns home and soon remembers that when she was a little girl she had a baby brother. Once, when feeling neglected and jealous of the attention given to her younger sibling, and wishing him to be quiet and gone, she involuntarily caused him to teleport from his crib and reappear underneath the sofa. In a final tragic incident, she caused him to disappear from his bath, and he was found trapped below the ice of a frozen lake by her father. Traumatized, Thelma's mother tried to take her own life by jumping off a bridge, but instead the failed attempt left her paraplegic. Thelma had forgotten these events. Realising her utter distress, her parents tell her the truth, which is that she is somehow able to manifest whatever she deeply wants and that she inherited the same inexplicable ability from her grandmother (who blamed herself for the disappearance of Thelma's grandfather and was kept sedated in a psychiatric nursing home by Trond). Thelma perceives that her parents have a similar fate in mind for her as her grandmother. Though Trond expresses some misgivings about drugging Thelma, Unni tells him it's their responsibility to stop Thelma.

Earlier, while visiting Anja, Thelma recalled how her father once held her hand over a lit candle until it almost burned so that she could feel what Hell's eternal fire was like. She causes the death of her father by telekinetically making him self-combust whilst out boating on the unfrozen lake. Thelma realizes that her power can also restore life when she revives a small dead bird. She begins to understand that her supernatural ability is also a gift and uses it to heal her mother, making her able to walk again. Along with the realization that she can summon her power, Thelma is able to finally control it, and brings Anja back to existence. She returns to college, now with Anja as her girlfriend.



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.[9] The final production budget[a] was 5,009,000 (i.e. 47 million NOK, 5.8 million USD).[1]

Principal photography began on 20 September 2016 and lasted 44 days.[9] Locations included Oslo in Norway, and Västra Götaland, Gothenburg, Trollhättan and Kiruna in Sweden.[9][11]

The film poster was released in August 2017.[12] The key art for the U.S. was released in September in advance of the American premiere,[13][14] followed by the UK in October.[15][16]


The film premiered at the Norwegian International Film Festival on 20 August 2017.[17][18] Thelma held its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival as a Special Presentation on 9 September.[19][20][21] It premiered in the United States at Fantastic Fest on 21 September,[22][23][24] and screened at the New York Film Festival as a Main Slate selection on 6 October.[25][26] It premiered in the United Kingdom at the BFI London Film Festival as a Cult Gala presentation on 14 October.[27][28][29]

Thelma was released theatrically in Norway on 15 September.[30][31] It was released in the United Kingdom on 3 November,[32][33] followed by the United States on 10 November.[14][34]

The Orchard acquired the North American distribution rights to the film in April the same year.[35][36] Distribution rights to the United Kingdom were acquired by Thunderbird Releasing in August.[37]

Critical reception[edit]

As of July 2021, the film holds a 93% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 148 reviews, with an 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".[38] On Metacritic, the film received a score of 74 out of 100, based on 31 leading critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[39] In IndieWire's annual critics poll of best films and performances, it was selected a "Critics Pick" for Best Foreign Language Film.[40] The Hollywood Reporter selected Thelma as one of the best LGBT films of 2017.[41]

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".[42] 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".[43]

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".[44] 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".[45] David Friend of The Canadian Press said the film carries "an ominous and sinister tone that evokes the best traits of classics like 'Carrie' and 'Let the Right One In'".[46]

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".[47] David Ehrlich wrote in IndieWire that Thelma was "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".[48]

In The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney 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".[49] Andrew Barker of 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".[50]

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".[51] 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".[52]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient and nominee Result Ref
Norwegian International Film Festival 24 August 2017 Norwegian Critics Prize Thelma Won [53][54]
Méliès International Festivals Federation 3 November 2017 Méliès d'Or Thelma Won [55]
Lübeck Nordic Film Days 5 November 2017 Baltic Jury Award Thelma Won [56]
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Foreign Language Film Thelma Won [57][58]
Utah Film Critics Association 17 December 2017 Non-English Language Film Thelma Won [59]
Houston Film Critics Society Best Foreign Language Film Thelma Won [60][61]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Foreign Language Film Thelma Nominated [62][63]
Kosmorama International Film Festival 8 March 2018 Best Picture Thelma Nominated [64][65]
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 Outstanding Film – Limited Release Thelma Nominated [66][67]
Amanda Award Best Norwegian Movie Thelma Nominated [68][69]
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 Won
Best Production Design/Scenography Roger Rosenberg Nominated
Best Visual Effects Esben Syberg (Shortcut) Nominated
Best Music Ola Fløttum Won
Best Editing Olivier Bugge Coutts Won
Best Sound Design Gisle Tveito Nominated
Nordic Council Film Prize 30 October 2018 Award Thelma Nominated [70]

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.[71][72] They were released in the UK by Thunderbird Releasing on 26 February 2018.[73][74] In Region 1 the DVD was released by The Orchard through Passion River Films on 3 April 2018.[75][76]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The first reported budget was 39 million NOK.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Facts & Figures 2017" (PDF). Danish Film Institute. February 2018. p. 8. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Thelma". Box Office Mojo. Amazon. 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2019. (Box office total based on manual addition of BOM grosses.)
  3. ^ "Thelma". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2019. (Box office total underrepresented.)
  4. ^ Alnes, Espen (5 September 2017). ""Thelma" blir den norske Oscar-kandidaten". NRK (in Norwegian). Retrieved 6 September 2017. "Thelma" the Norwegian Oscar candidate.
  5. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (6 September 2017). "Joachim Trier's 'Thelma' Chosen by Norway for Foreign-Language Oscar". Variety. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  6. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (6 September 2017). "Thelma and her supernatural powers put forward for the Oscars". Cineuropa. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  7. ^ Kilday, Gregg (5 October 2017). "Oscars: 92 Films Submitted in Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  8. ^ Kilday, Gregg (14 December 2017). "Oscars: Academy Unveils Foreign-Language Film Shortlist". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Mitchell, Wendy (21 September 2016). "Le Pacte joins Joachim Trier's 'Thelma'". Screen Daily. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Joachim Triers Thelma har et budsjett på 39 millioner kroner". Montages (in Norwegian). 2 June 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2018. (Joachim Trier's Thelma Has A Budget Of 39 Million Kroner)
  11. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (26 October 2016). "Joachim Trier shooting Thelma". Cineuropa. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Se den lekre kinoplakaten til Joachim Triers Thelma". Montages (in Norwegian). 18 August 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2018. (See the Gorgeous Movie Poster for Joachim Trier's Thelma)
  13. ^ Foss, Truls (7 September 2017). "Amerikansk trailer og plakat til Joachim Triers Thelma". Montages (in Norwegian). Retrieved 22 September 2018. (American Trailer and Poster for Joachim Trier's Thelma)
  14. ^ a b Davis, Edward (5 September 2017). "'Thelma' Exclusive: New Poster For Joachim Trier's Supernatural Drama". The Playlist. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Thunderbird Releasing unveils new trailer & quad poster for 'Thelma'". The Arts Shelf. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  16. ^ Donnis, Jon (20 October 2017). "Thelma - UK poster and trailer". BeenToTheMovies. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (19 July 2017). "Joachim Trier's 'Thelma' Opens Nordic Encounter in Haugesund". Variety. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  19. ^ "The Toronto International Film Festival unveils first slate of films for 2017". Toronto International Film Festival. 25 July 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  20. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (25 July 2017). "Toronto Film Festival 2017 Unveils Strong Slate". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  21. ^ Grierson, Tim (9 September 2017). "'Thelma': Toronto Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Thelma". Fantastic Fest. 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  23. ^ Collis, Clark (6 September 2017). "A student gains supernatural abilities in Thelma trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  24. ^ Galgana, Michele (22 September 2017). "Fantastic Fest 2017 Review: THELMA Thrills With Lust and Existentialism". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  25. ^ "Thelma". New York Film Festival. 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  26. ^ Hudson, David (7 October 2017). "NYFF 2017: Joachim Trier's Thelma". The Daily. The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Thelma". BFI London Film Festival. British Film Institute. 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Calendar" (PDF). BFI London Film Festival 2017. British Film Institute. 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  29. ^ "Norwegian film at London Film Festival". Norwegian Arts. Royal Norwegian Embassy. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Her er den norske filmhøsten". Norsk filminstitutt (in Norwegian). 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018. Here are autumn Norwegian films.
  31. ^ Thelma [@thelmafilmen] (15 September 2017). "Endelig premiere i dag!" (in Norwegian). Facebook. Retrieved 25 June 2018. Finally premiere today!
  32. ^ "Thelma". Launching Films. Film Distributors' Association. 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ Press Release (20 April 2017). "The Orchard Lands Joachim Trier's Supernatural Thriller "Thelma"". The Orchard. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  36. ^ Lang, Brent; Keslassy, Elsa (20 April 2017). "The Orchard Nabs Joachim Trier's Supernatural Thriller 'Thelma' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  37. ^ Grater, Tom (31 August 2017). "Joachim Trier's 'Thelma' gets UK deal (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  38. ^ "Thelma". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  39. ^ "Thelma". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  40. ^ Kohn, Eric (19 December 2017). "2017 Critics Poll: The Best Films and Performances According to Over 200 Critics". IndieWire. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  41. ^ THR Staff (18 December 2017). "The Year in Queer: Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the Best LGBT Films of 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  42. ^ Dargis, Manohla (9 November 2017). "Review: In 'Thelma,' a Woman in Love Can Burn Down the World". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  43. ^ Chang, Justin (22 November 2017). "Joachim Trier's supernatural thriller 'Thelma' takes an unsettling look at religion and sexuality". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  44. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (2 November 2017). "Thelma review – telekinetic lesbian drama is scary, sexy and cool". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  45. ^ Pitts, Ciara (18 December 2017). "Sapphic Cinema: 'Thelma' is a Liberating Lesbian Love Story". AfterEllen. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  46. ^ Friend, David (16 September 2017). "Five to watch: Standout TIFF films that flew under the radar". CTV News. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  47. ^ Ebiri, Bilge (8 November 2017). ""Thelma" Skips the Jump Scares, But It's Still Deeply Disturbing". The Village Voice. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  48. ^ Erhlich, David (9 September 2017). "'Thelma' Review: Ingmar Bergman Meets Stephen King in Joachim Trier's Beguiling Lesbian Horror Movie". IndieWire. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  49. ^ Rooney, David (9 September 2017). "'Thelma': Film Review – TIFF 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  50. ^ Barker, Andrew (15 September 2017). "Film Review: 'Thelma'". Variety. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  51. ^ Bishop, Bryan (10 November 2017). "Thelma is a superhero horror movie about the terror of growing up". The Verge. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  52. ^ Barton-Fumo, Margaret (November–December 2017). "Short Take: Thelma". Film Comment. Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  53. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing; Pham, Annika (24 August 2017). "Haugesund: Joachim Trier's 'Thelma' Takes Norwegian Critics' Prize". Variety. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  54. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (25 August 2017). "Thelma wins over Norwegian critics in Haugesund". Cineuropa. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  55. ^ Forliano, Andrea (4 November 2017). "Il mystery thriller norvegese Thelma vince il Méliès d'Or 2017" [Norwegian mystery thriller Thelma wins the Méliès d’Or 2017]. Il Discorso (in Italian). Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  56. ^ Kalajdzic, Pedja (5 November 2017). "Norske filmer vant priser i Tyskland". NRK (in Norwegian). Retrieved 21 September 2018. (Norwegian Films Won Awards in Germany)
  57. ^ "2017 San Diego Film Critics Society Award Winners". San Diego Film Critics Society. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  58. ^ Murray, Rebecca (11 December 2017). "San Diego Film Critics 2017 Award Winners: 'Get Out' Takes Best Film Honors". Showbiz Junkies. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  59. ^ Bonaduce, Richard (20 December 2017). "Annual Utah Film Critics Association Winners for 2017". Salt Lake Magazine. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  60. ^ "Awards: The Houston Film Critics Society Award Winners for 2017". Houston Film Critics Society. 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  61. ^ Roberts, James (8 January 2018). "'Lady Bird' Wins Big at 11th Annual Houston Film Critics Society Awards". Glide Magazine. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  62. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (6 December 2017). "'Shape of Water' Leads Critics' Choice Film Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  63. ^ "Complete list of nominees and winners for the 23rd Critics' Choice Awards". Los Angeles Times. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  64. ^ "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.
  65. ^ "Dette er vinnerne av Kanonprisen!". Kosmorama Trondheim International Film Festival (in Norwegian). March 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018. (These Are the Winners of Kanonprisen!)
  66. ^ Grossman, Lena (19 January 2018). "Here Are the 2018 GLAAD Media Awards Nominees". Time. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  67. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (5 May 2018). "GLAAD Media Awards: 'Call Me by Your Name' Wins Best Film". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  68. ^ 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".
  69. ^ Høkaas, Christian (18 August 2018). "Dette ble Amandavinnerne 2018". Kinomagasinet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 21 September 2018. (These are Amanda Winners 2018)
  70. ^ NTB (21 August 2018). "Triers "Thelma" norsk kandidat til Nordisk råds filmpris 2018". Sunnmørsposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 21 September 2018. (Trier's "Thelma" Norwegian Candidate for the Nordic Council Film Prize 2018)
  71. ^ 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
  72. ^ "Thelma Blu-ray". 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  73. ^ "Supernatural Thriller THELMA Released". Horror Island UK. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  74. ^ "Thelma Blu-ray (UK)". 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  75. ^ "Thelma". Passion River Films. 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  76. ^ "Thelma DVD". 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]