A Hole in my Heart could have been something interesting, but instead fails to deliver any sort of social message, which, I believe was what director Lukas Moodysson had set out to do in this movie.
Having watched Lilya 4-ever many years ago, I felt compelled to pick this up at my local secondhand commodity-store, and thought it would go down with a nice cup of tea. Instead, my eyes had to witness what can only be described as amateur pornography, in some rundown apartment, where a father and his close ‘guy-friend’ had sex with a woman. The twist in the story is a psychological one (but, to be frank, most of it was twisted). Sadly though, the backstory (primarily the father’s), whilst presented as a deep psychoanalytical exploration into these people’s lives, was wafer-thin, almost cardboard in its narrative. ‘What a shame’, I said to myself as I watched this. Lilya 4-ever this was not, because at least that film had some sort of impacting message (at least it did for me).
But thinking back to Lilya 4-ever, I can see Lukas Moodysson’s filmmaking style is in this film too. In Lilya, there was a few corny scenes that undermined the movie as a whole (the angels, a McDonald’s happy meal on the table), but at least they were memorable. (I watched that film perhaps ten years ago.) Having just watched A Hole in my Heart, I fail to recall much. The only interesting thing happened when the woman leaves the apartment, and entering the real world, we see that she cannot handle it, so she then retreats back to them. The film should have explored that idea more, I believe, and could have easily been done as she was the only one to leave the house! If they’d all have left at one point or another, we could have seen how they required the perversity of their secret world, inside the flat, in order to survive. It would have made for a deeper, more meaningful contrast. But no! instead, we have what I would term as post-dogma camera work, looped editing (e.g the film starts where it begins), and by the end of it I’m immediately left with the words ‘Is that it?’ on the tip of my tongue.
I believe Lukas Moodysson is a talented filmmaker, but A Hole in my Heart is huge failure in my opinion, purely because it lacks a coherent message. Some films don’t require an explicit statement for the audience to receive, but in a film such as this, there is a moral obligation not to infect the viewer with bad ideas. Moodysson, by not being obvious in his message, signals to some viewers that this kind of behaviour is acceptable, when it is not. I don’t care what happened to a character such as the boy’s father – you don’t treat women like that! Having psychological issues such as what he had does not mean you should enact abuse on others. Moodysson fails to deliver a solution to this type of problem, which he could have easily have done, and in not doing so he leaves the film open to the interpretation of being a glorification of sexual abuse. Whilst I believe Moodysson did not intend for this to be perceived as such, it must be said that there are many, many damaged people out there who will see this film as so. It could be said this is purely that type of viewer’s fault for indulging in that psychological perversion of theirs, but this is exactly my point: Moodysson gives them the opportunity to self-medicate their own psychological issues in this arena. A misjudged film, by a filmmaker who is capable of so much more.