This is our Season 1 review. Season 2 also brilliant!!
STEP ASIDE, BRIDGET JONES, your successor is a tattooed brunette nurse from Oslo who smashes the tall ice blonde Nordic mould; she’s naïve, cheeky and super charming. Johanne is a superstar and she doesn’t know it. She has no idea she makes magic everywhere she goes … And everyone is entranced. Make no mistake, this girl is ‘supervarm’!
Johanne is a young and highly capable nurse between generations and between worlds. She’s grown up with Janteloven, the informal social law that frowns upon arrogance and places the community before individual ... and she generally lives by those rules. But in the fierce jungle of the modern Western world, she strives to be both assertive and self protective. She knows her place as a nurse but will correct doctors to protect the patient. She uses tech but isn’t a slave to it. She wears mishmash fashion that isn't straight out of an H&M ad. She lives in an old house with a creative friend and drives a car that (gasp!) isn't a Tesla and yes, it breaks down. Papa tells her not to knit a gaudy colorful blanket for a young patient because neutral schemes are The Nordic Way and an unwritten part of the Janteloven, so she does the opposite and ignores Papa's advice. She looks sweet and innocent but has some big FO tatts in places only lovers see. She’s still learning not to make preconceived judgements about people.
Johanna is 30 years old and decides it's time to do something about her family’s constant questions about her non existent love life. She declares at family dinner that she has a (non existent) boyfriend. With a 24 day deadline, her roomie Jørgunn creates a battle plan and encourages Johanne to play the field and laugh and cry along the way.
All of the cast have clearly been chosen with care and there’s no small role. We wish there was room to mention them all; some have appeared in other well known Nordic productions and most of the cast have amazing acting CVs including the always charming Line Verdal of gritty legal drama Aber Bergen. Director Per-Olav Sørensen has woven a very special tapestry. Mads Sjøgård Pettersen (Nobel) brings a subtle approach to his role as Stein, the quiet gentleman with a warm heart and stunning smile; Dennis Storhøi (Berlin Station) ensures his gentle Papa role is a very memorable and humorous one; Francisco Jonathan Carrasco seems like a leading man waiting to happen on the world stage ... He expands his background character with eyes that speak volumes, strategic body language and obvious enthusiasm. We are sure you will love the outcome for his character in Hjem Til Jul! The legendary Scandinavian production quality shows throughout the modern music, scripting and production ... all very polished, efficiently joined and the net result is a superior quality 3 hour binge that flies past you … What? Finished already? Better watch it again next week!
Netflix would do well to pick this show up for at least 3 seasons. If a 40+ man (this reviewer’s spouse) can protest at the surprise ending and yell for more, and mention the show next day — hey Netflix, you know it’s a winner.
As our regular ScandiNordic blog readers know, we like to point out the hidden gems in our reviews, or the One To Watch. We have warmed to Gabrielle Leithaug aka pop singer Gabby aka Jørgunn, who sparkles far and wide in small doses. Every appearance is a precious diamond.
Gabby's acting is bold but respectful, confident without arrogance, taking its rightful place and complementing without overshadowing Ida Elisa Broch’s central role. If you haven’t seen her interview and performance on Norwegian talk show Lindmo (September 2019), or heard her music (including the Skam soundtrack), check her out. Gabby's role here as the creative and generous roomie, the boho Bergen princess with a heart of pure gold and amazing comic timing, with incredible degrees of pathos, marks her as an incredible actress with Next Big Thing written all over her – so be sure to remember Gabrielle Leithaug’s name. We see BIG things ahead! You’ve got this, Gabby … Go For It.
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