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Some people are calling Joachim Trier‘s “Thelma” his first foray into the horror genre. It is not. “Thelma” is actually an indescribable mix of genres: drama, thriller, family, horror, mystery, comedy and, yes, even supernatural elements infuse Trier’s movie.
Beautifully shot by Jakob Ihre with an attention to detail for every frame, the film is a calm, slow-burning character study. Eili Harboe is excellent as the titular character; her talent carries the movie forward in such unexpected ways as her lone wolf college freshman begins to befriend and eventually fall for Anja (Kaya Wikins). The more head over heels she becomes for Anja, the more she starts to change in ways that are too surprising to reveal in this write-up.
Trier’s film is a calm, low key affair that builds up the tension as more is revealed. The 43-year-old director is a sort of hero in his native Norway, where his first three films all became festival hits (“Reprise,” “Oslo August 31st,” “Louder Than Bombs“). With “Thelma,” he’s made an enigmatic movie that tackles female sexuality in ways we haven’t seen before. His vision is strong here, but so is his ability to continuously grab our attention throughout, despite the subtle simplicities of the tale being told. 
However, the director doesn't quite find the right tone to sustain his movie from beginning to end. The non-supernatural aspects of the film are what works best. Once, the supernatural comes into the film's final third inauthenticity occurs. "Thelma" is a fascinating mess of a movie made a talented filmmaker, but some of the directions this film goes to just feel abrupt and overtly conceived [C+]