Tove begins silent and quaint. The tone is much like a softer Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, with all the grit and edge of sexual intimacy shaken off, replaced with something both sultry and chaste. Its free-spirited score is light and classic, with a touch of 1920s jazz piano music, highlighting the tangled mess of a romance between its two leads, and wrapping them up in a Midnight in Paris vibe. Filtered orange, the film radiates warmth, even against the white of snow. At its heart, this is a father and daughter story disguised as one about failed romance and unbridled sexual exploration.
The narrative is driven by slow and quiet moments, snippets of conversations that lead to small threads of conflict and resolution. This allows the visuals to tell the story, complemented by subtle sound design – the clicking of shoes on the floor, and soft background noises humming through mindless chatter. A cycle of mini events accumulate and progress as the years pass by, and the audience must assemble the puzzle pieces of Tove’s life. The neat and intricate picture comes together as she, too, resolves her own journey. With theatre at the core of its storyline, Tove even makes use of dramatic clichés such as embedded narrative to add an extra layer of irony to the script.
Alma Pöysti as Tove captures the taciturn yet daring beauty needed for the role. With her mannerisms and facial expressions, she exhibits well the persona of a sure but struggling artist, freely exploring her identity and teetering on the edge of wisdom and carelessness. Opposite her is Krista Kosonen, who gives life to Vivica with a lost, yet unapologetic and alluring sense of self. She’s charming and adventurous, bringing the best out of Pöysti whenever they share the screen. Their overall chemistry is equal parts seductive and hesitant, balancing well the sexual tension and emotions involved.
Tove offers a lot of romantically indulgent scenes (from kisses behind a hat and dancing in the snow to the excess of cigarettes and playfully diminutive nicknames), but each and every one of these scenes is calculated, making the final goodbye between Tove and Vivica more effective than the audience might expect. But, more importantly, it skilfully distracts from the subtle, but extremely significant dissonance between Tove and her father.
Tove is released in select cinemas on 9th July 2021.
Watch the trailer for Tove here: