Maria’s dad (Bjorn Sundquist), the stern and emotionally distant town minister, is totally out of his depth when it comes to understanding his daughter’s distress, and she turns to bible reading in hopes of finding solace. But comically, Maria discovers the ancient texts brimming with passion and thinly veiled sexuality. She then begins to see prim Mrs. Tunheim as a role model and kindred spirit. But furtive nude bathing is not the only secret this matronly woman is hiding, and Maria is in for some hard lessons about faith, trust and truthfulness.
Stories about young girls coming of age are a staple of European cinema – like movies with lots of explosions are to Americans – and this type of film has been done many times before. But, while not a shining example of the genre, The Other Side of Sunday manages to establish a rumbling sort of momentum that’s appealing. We find ourselves coolly but pleasingly immersed, just like Maria when she shyly attempts her own naked commune with nature.
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