The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers (film) – Wikipedia

The Kindness of Strangers
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lone Scherfig
Written by Lone Scherfig
Produced by
  • Andrea Riseborough, Tahar Rahim, Zoe Kazan, Bill Nighy, Caleb Landry Jones, and Jay Baruchel are among the cast members.
Cinematography Sebastian Blenkov
Edited by Cam McLauchlin
Music by Andrew Lockington
Production companies
  • HanWay Films, Ingenious Media, Apollo Media, Creative Alliance, Strada Films, and WDR are among the companies involved.
  • Berlin (February 7th, 2019)
  • Canada (December 6th, 2019)
  • And the United States (February 14th, 2020).
  • The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, and Canada are all represented.

The Kindness of Strangersis a drama film written and directed by Lone Scherfig that will be released in 2019 as part of an international co-production. There are several actors in the film, including Andrea Riseborough, Zoe Kazan, Tahar Rahim, Bill Nighy, Caleb Landry Jones, and Jay Baruchel. The film made its global debut on February 7, 2019 at the Berlin International Film Festival, which was held in Germany. Vertical Entertainment published it in the United States on February 14, 2020, and it is the first installment in the series.


In New York, a group of lonely individuals are brought together by a miracle.


  • Alice is played by Andrea Riseborough, Marc is played by Tahar Rahimas, Clara is played by Zoe Kazan, Timofey is played by Bill Nighy, Jeff is played by Caleb Landry Jones, John Peter is played by Esben Smeda, Anthony is played by Jack Fulton, and Jude is played by Finlay Wojtak-Hissong


Lone Scherfig would direct the film from a screenplay she had written, with HanWay Films, Ingenious Media, Apollo Media, Creative Alliance, Strada Films, Telefilm Canada, Danish Film Institute, Nadcon, D’Artaganan and Entertainment One serving as producers. In February 2017, it was announced that Lone Scherfig would direct the film from a screenplay she had written. Andrea Riseborough, Tahar Rahim, and Zoe Kazan all joined the cast of the picture in February of this year. Bill Nighy, Caleb Landry Jones, and Jay Baruchel joined the cast of the picture in March of this year.


Principal photography began in March 2018 and took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, New York City, and Copenhagen, Denmark. The film was shot on location in all three cities.


The film made its global debut on February 7, 2019 at the Berlin International Film Festival, which was held in Germany. Vertical Entertainment published it in the United States on February 14, 2020, and it is the first installment in the series.


According to the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 36 reviews, 31 percent of reviewers gave the film a good review, resulting in an average rating of 4.3/10. According to the site’s critical consensus, “A gifted onscreen ensemble is not served well by The Kindness of Strangers, which looks for purpose but ends up empty.” According to Metacritic, the film had a score of 32 out of 100 based on 11 reviewers, indicating “generally negative reviews.”


  1. It is titled “Strangers’ Acts of Kindness.” The Berlin International Film Festival is held every year in Berlin. “The Kindness of Strangers (2019)”, which was retrieved on January 29, 2019. Box Office Mojo and IMDb are two websites that track box office performance. “The Kindness of Strangers review — a poor premise, terribly implemented,” according to the Associated Press on March 15, 2020. 7th of February, 2019
  2. Annika Pham and Annika Pham (February 2, 2017). “Lone Scherfig’s Secrets from the Russian Tea Room” obtains funding, according to the press release. Norsidk Film is a Norwegian film. Obtainable on March 26, 2018
  3. Rossing Jessen, Jorn, Jessen, Jorn, Jessen, Jorn (February 4, 2018). White, Peter (March 26, 2018). “Goteborg: ‘An Education’s’ Lone Scherfig on ‘Their Finest,’ the U.K. Film Industry, and Entering Other Worlds.” Variety. Retrieved March 26, 2018. (February 16, 2018). “Lone Scherfig Drama
  4. HBO Europe Hacker Drama
  5. ‘Strange But True’ US Deal – Berlin Briefs” is the title of a Berlin Briefs article. Hollywood has a deadline. Wiseman, Andreas (March 26, 2018)
  6. Wiseman, Andreas (March 28, 2018). “Bill Nighy and Caleb Landry Jones star in this film. Jay Baruchel has joined the cast of the Lone Scherfig drama, which is currently filming in Toronto “. Hollywood has a deadline. Barraclough, Leo (March 28, 2018)
  7. Retrieved March 28, 2018
  8. (September 6, 2018). In “First Look at Lone Scherfig’s ‘The Kindness of Strangers,’ (EXCLUSIVE),” Variety published on September 6, 2018, a first look at the film directed by Lone Scherfig (February 19, 2018). Copenhagen Film Fund announced that a “INTERNATIONAL STELLAR CAST HAS SIGNED ON TO AWARDWINNING DIRECTOR LONE SCHERFIG’S NEW FILM.” Wiseman, Andreas (March 26, 2018)
  9. Wiseman, Andreas (December 6, 2018). “The Kindness of Strangers,” a film by Lone Scherfig, will open the Berlin Film Festival in 2019. Deadline Hollywood. Billington, Alex (December 6, 2018)
  10. Retrieved on December 6, 2018. (January 13, 2020). “Zoe Kazan stars in the official US trailer for ‘The Kindness of Strangers,'” according to the press release. “The Kindness of Strangers (2019)” is a film that was released on January 13, 2020. Rotten Tomatoes is a website dedicated to reviewing and rating movies and television shows. Fandango. It was retrieved on October 30, 2021, from Metacritic’s “The Kindness of Strangers Reviews.” CBS Interactive is a web-based television network owned by CBS Corporation. The date is January 19, 2020.

External links

The arrival of another another narrative of interconnected fates comes just when we were beginning to believe that movies that say we are all circumstantially tied by cosmic energies had gone out of style for forever. “The Kindness of Strangers,” from Danish writer/directorLone Scherfig, is a frustratingly unrealistic film that exploits the aforesaid subgenre’s most testing characteristics, yielding a syrupy brew thick with twee and an abundance of cringe-inducing moments that tug at the heartstrings.

  1. New York City is the magnificent emporium that sets the stage for our entangled souls; it is also the city from where this critic hails, and as a result, he can attest that we do not provide a limitless quantity of altruistic deeds on a daily basis to the flow of things.
  2. Clara (Zoe Kazan), a horribly mistreated young mother with two sons, is the main benefactor—the one who transports us to this imaginary version of the city.
  3. Claire and her good-natured pre-teen boys Jude (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) and Anthony (Jack Fulton) brave the frigid streets of downtown Manhattan after their car, which had served as their temporary residence up until that point, is towed away.
  4. Claire is able to slip into hotels and cocktail parties undetected because of her implausibly polished appearance—slick gowns, freshly touched-up waves (don’t ask how she does it) and fine shoes—and she meets a variety of helpful but victimized individuals who are also lost in their own way.
  5. Aside from Marc, played by Tahar Rahim, there’s also the down-on-his-luck, hapless small-timer Jeff, played by Caleb Landry Jones, and Timofey, played by Bill Nighy, who manages the once-popular Russian restaurant Winter Palace, where Marc works as a manager.
  6. It is a magical centre for everyone that the narrative touches.
  7. His true name is Tim, and he feels that his fictitious accent is intended to generate a sense of intrigue in order to improve his business.

It doesn’t really matter in “The Kindness of Strangers,” because Scherfig—who had previously found exceptional emotional and historical detail within the romantic and deeply feminist beats of ” An Education ” and ” Their Finest “—doesn’t linger on anyone or anything for long enough for them to develop into substantial entities in the novel.

To find out why Jeff fails at everything, how Clara ended herself in the midst of a nightmare marriage, and what lurks underlying her husband’s (slowly disclosed) psychotic behaviors, we must patiently wait—and wait—for answers.

The ambiguous relationship between Marc and Clara is similarly undeveloped elsewhere, and it is the one thing that could have helped salvage the unfocused film, which fizzles before it achieves anything even vaguely satisfying halfway through.

In New York, Sebastian Blenkov’s picture-book cinematography, supported by Andrew Lockington’s too emotional score, concentrates on a fanciful vision of human togetherness that is unfortunately never connected by Scherfig’s rambling story.

Tomris Laffly

Tomris Laffly is a New York-based freelance cinema writer and critic who works on a variety of projects. She is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) and regularly contributes to, Variety, and Time Out New York, among other publications. She has also had bylines in Filmmaker Magazine, Film Journal International, Vulture, The Playlist, and The Wrap, among other publications.

The Kindness of Strangers

Ordinary strangers living in New York City go about their business as if nothing is wrong with them. Clara flees with her two sons from her abusive husband and comes across four other individuals who are also going through a terrible moment in their lives. As their paths cross, Alice, a nurse on the edge of breaking down, Mark, a guy convicted of a crime he did not commit, John Peter, Mark’s lawyer, and Jeff, an unambitious man, discover that they are all intertwined in some way.

  • Drama
  • Original Language:English
  • Director:
  • Producer:
  • Writer:
  • Availability in theaters is restricted
  • Availability via streaming is February 14, 2020
  • Runtime is 1 hour 52 minutes
  • Distributor is E1 Entertainment.


The author writes, “Each step Tom makes in this compilation of globe excursions is a source of illumination. We would want to accompany Tom to the edge of a cliff in the Philippines, where a brave village is perilously perched. We want to experience the unraveling of the entanglements between China and Hong Kong as it is being undone by the next generations. As we go among peoples who have been stripped of all resources, we see a ‘loss of humanity’ in the greater sphere of power that we cannot quite get our finger on.

This is a fantastic book.

My attention is drawn to the way the voice of the people is cherished in this tour de force.” —Juan Felipe Herrera, Emeritus Poet Laureate of the United States of America and author of Every Day We Get More Illegal “Why would I want to travel anyplace when I have Tom Lutz?” says the author.

But, of course, I’m left wishing for these locations and adventures, jealous of those who have had them, and even more envious of Lutz’s ability to capture them in such a beautiful way on film.

The Kindness of Strangers: Kittle, Katrina: 9780060564780: Books

Purchased in the United States on May 17, 2018 and reviewed on May 18, 2018Verified Purchase The first few chapters were a little slow to get me into this one, but after that, I couldn’t put it down. Katrina Kittle conducted substantial study into child psychology and child sexual abuse throughout her time as a child psychologist. Even though I’m not a specialist in either field, I found all of the characters’ actions and reactions to be really believable. There were a few components of the tale that made it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief, but they were not crucial to the story of the Ladens and Jordan.

  • Although the actions themselves are not the primary focus of the plot, knowing what happened to Jordan is critical to understanding why he behaves the way he does throughout the novel.
  • She only supplies enough information for you to understand what is going on.
  • Each chapter is recounted from the point of view of one of the three main protagonists, Sarah, Nate, and Jordan, respectively.
  • All three points of view are beautifully intertwined in this piece.
  • I remained up until 1:30 a.m.
  • Although highly recommended, readers should be advised that the book contains explicit and upsetting subject matter.
  • Purchase that has been verified This book was chosen by my book club, and I put off purchasing it and then reading it until the last minute.

It is a really carefully written novel about child molestation, which is both repeated and perpetrated by the child’s own family.

I thoroughly loved it and was disappointed when it came to an end.

Rogers advises, look to the people who are there to help.

On July 23, 2014, a review was published in the United States.

The writing is excellent, and I hope Ms.

The depictions of abuse (and yes, there are accounts of abuse, despite the fact that they are eloquently written) were, on the other hand, far too tough for me to get through.

Because it was a selection for my book club, I returned to it, but I found myself fighting back tears time and time again, and I felt ill to my stomach knowing that this is more reality than fantasy for the characters.

I was dreading taking it up again, which is a pity since I was really looking forward to seeing how Jordan, the tortured youngster, begins to recover as a result of Sarah’s kindness.

Well-written, thought-provoking, and truly captivating, but be warned: the subject of abuse, when dealt with in such a realistic manner, may be too tough for some readers to read through to completion.

Verified Purchase on April 26, 2013 in the United States of America It’s only been a few hours since I finished reading The Kindness of Strangers, and I’m still reeling, still wondering about the characters and what will happen to them next—both signals that you’ve just completed reading a really well-written and poignant novel.

I highly recommend it.

The details were important, but they weren’t the only thing that drew me in.

It is difficult to read at times because the story deals with two horrific topics: child sexual abuse and child pornography.

It reminds me of a quotation by Fred Rogers, who said, “When I was a youngster and I would see awful things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.'” This reminds me of the phrase “Look for the helpers.” And that’s precisely what this book does: it concentrates on the helpers, on how to navigate difficult situations with love, compassion, and grace, among other things.

She did it brilliantly.

On July 30, 2018, a reviewer in the United States of America verified that the purchase was legitimate.

It’s been years since I’ve read this book, and reading it again has left me feeling the same, if not even more, astonishment and admiration for Kittle’s incredible work – it’s a beautifully written book that is difficult to put down.

I am quite pleased with the skill with which Ms. Kittle treated a significant societal topic in such an engaging work, and I look forward to reading her next novel. Despite the fact that this is my second time reading this book, I am confident that it will not be my last.

Top reviews from other countries

3.0 stars out of 5 for this product A Difficult Topic to Discuss On January 17, 2018, a review was conducted in the United Kingdom. Purchase that has been verified In her third novel, Katrina Kittle tackles the exceedingly tough subject of familial child abuse, which she has seen firsthand. Sarah Laden, a young widow and mother of two who works as a part-time caterer, learns that Jordan, a classmate of her son Danny’s and the son of her friend and former employer Courtney, has been sexually assaulted by his father.

This is a wonderful work – yet it was tough for me to connect with it on a personal level.

However, she is so preoccupied with providing a comprehensive and realistic description of Jordan’s abuse and his reaction to it that the rest of the plot never really takes off.

Sarah’s life before she became a widow, as well as her personal ambitions and hopes – and any reservations she could have about adopting a kid she hardly knew – are all left to the reader to fill in the blanks.

Nate and Danny are both endearing young men, but they appear to be more ‘types’ than complete individuals – the bright, rebellious older brother and the easy-going, popular, and rather idle younger brother – and I don’t believe Kittle adequately explores the annoyance they might feel (despite their compassion for him) at being thrust into the role of brother by their father.

Maybe it’s hard to analyze anything like this unless you’re a psychologist, but it would have been fascinating to learn a little more about them, particularly Courtney, before the show began.

(If you’re a cat lover, I’d suggest you to skip this section because it made me feel terrible.) After all was said and done, while I was impressed with Kittle’s attempt to tackle this difficult subject, and thought the book was reasonably well written, it came across to me as more of a novel than a novel because so much attention was focused on the main topic of child abuse that the characters tended to feel more like pawns in the narrative rather than fully realized individuals at times.

(However, there were instances in which Kittle had exceptional insight, such as when she wrote about Nate reading Hamlet.) Although I commend Kittle’s bold endeavor to depict what it is like to be a survivor of abuse, I thought her fourth novel, ‘The Blessings of the Animals,’ to be richer in terms of character psychology and intriguing characters.

  1. Wow.
  2. It deals with the extremely depressing subject of child sexual abuse, but it also explores how the kindness, love, and compassion of regular people may help those who are broken to find their way back to health.
  3. Sarah is a widow who is attempting to raise her two boys on her own, against the odds.
  4. However, she soon discovers that she never truly knew her companion in the first place.
  5. This is the kind of book that occupies you from beginning to end while you’re reading it, and you can’t stop thinking about it and the characters after you’ve finished it.
  6. Although it deals with exceedingly tough subject matter in a thoughtful and sympathetic manner, it is a profound, dark, emotional, and exceptionally weighty film.
  7. 5.0 stars out of 5 for this product Amazing!
  8. This was an excellent read for me.
  9. It demonstrates how compassion can make a significant difference in our lives, even at our lowest moments.
  10. verified purchase – reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 12, 2014 This is a terrifying and unpleasant subject that many authors are afraid to explore.
  11. The situation was handled sensitively and with a surprising amount of optimism.

5.0 stars out of 5 for this product Promising. On May 14, 2015, a reviewer in the United Kingdom expressed satisfaction with their purchase. Although I have not yet read it, a first glance indicates that it is highly promising.

Watch The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Sixty-nine percent of reviews are five stars, while just fifteen percent are four stars. 3 stars are awarded to 9 percent of reviews, while 4 percent of reviews are awarded 2 stars. One-star ratings account for 4% of all reviews.

The best reviews have come from the United States. Devin Munce is a professional basketball player. On March 21, 2020, a 5.0 out of 5 star rating was given in the United States. It’s one of a kind! Purchase has been verified This was a very remarkable film. Those who do not have “ears to hear” are unlikely to comprehend what the film is trying to say. There is a great deal of beauty to be extracted from this on many levels. The subject of “forgiveness” ran throughout the book, which I found very moving.

  • This was beneficial to 67 individuals.
  • This is a fantastic story.
  • A film that isn’t a complete dud.
  • I enjoy the characters, as well as the actors that play them on screen.
  • This is a very genuine fact.
  • I don’t want to give anything away.
  • I’d want to see a second installment.

I’m hoping that this film marks a watershed moment in the history of romance and, more broadly, deeper narrative telling.

Thank you so much for doing this.

Review by Lainie Free on September 5, 2020 in the United States of America (5.0 out of 5.0 stars) A moving film with outstanding performers.

In this picture, there are realistic people and a beautiful bunch of men; there is no pretense, as there is in so many films nowadays.

Zoe Kazan and Andrea Riseborough were also excellent in their roles.

This was beneficial to 39 individuals.

On March 19, 2020, a 5.0 out of 5 star rating was given in the United States.

Purchase has been verified It’s heartening to witness a movie in which others show concern for individuals in need, or for humans in general for that matter, in general.

They should develop more films like this to serve as a reminder to the public on how we should respect one another.

This was beneficial to 43 individuals.

On March 8, 2020, a 5.0 out of 5 star rating was given in the United States.

Purchase has been verified These strangers are transformed into friends when their experiences intertwine.

My only wish is if it had been released in 2019, since it would have won an Academy Award.

This was beneficial to 40 individuals.

Uator is a writer and editor based in New York City.

good tale, which is really needed right now Purchase has been verified It was refreshing to see a film that didn’t try to stimulate the audience with violence, but rather with the finer aspects of human nature.

I anticipate to see a lot more of these new performers and actresses in the future.

Erda The product was reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2020 and received a 4.0 out of 5 star rating.

But, having said that, keep an eye on it!

This was beneficial to 20 people.

Purchase has been verified This film is dreary and boring in its tone and content.

Neither of the characters has any control over their own lives, and they are either martyrs or victims, waiting for someone nice to come along and save them.

The most perplexing mystery is why the woman with two children does not contact any form of domestic abuse shelter or conduct internet research about domestic violence choices at the library, where she is often seen with her two children.

In order to provide food for her children, she never goes out of her way to undertake any off-the-books labor or even set up a sign and panhandle.

In addition to this, there is the person who nearly freezes to death due to a severe lack of fundamental intellect, yet no one refers him to any form of social service for examination, and it is unclear as to why he is so stupid.

And when she’s not working, she’s volunteering at a soup kitchen in her spare time.

What is the reason for such a martyrdom?

If this seems horrible based on my description, it’s only a fraction of the heated mess that is this film. This was beneficial to 13 people. See all of the reviews

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Whoever you are, I have always relied on the goodwill of strangers to get me through tough times.


When Blanche DuBois, played by Vivien Leigh, says this iconic line in A Streetcar Named Desire, it becomes instantly renowned (directed by Elia Kazan, 1951). It was taken directly from the play. The title of this film is not A Streetcar Named Kindness. It’s the story of A Streetcar Named Desire. However, the tragedy Blanche DuBois confuses the two as though they are one and the same thing, unable to distinguish between dream and reality. This is what Blanche says to the doctor who is going to take her away to a mental hospital after she has been sexually assaulted by Stanley.

But what about kindness?

Where you’ve heard it

In the event that someone drops this phrase, check to see that they’re okay and that whatever they’re talking about was genuinely nice—not bizarre or abusive like the “kindness” Blanche is frequently exposed to.

Additional Notable References

  • People use this quotation in a literal sense, such as in a book about trekking across America, or in an episode of This American Life about compassion in New York City, or in a compilation of inspirational stories. Final Fantasy XIV encourages you to be polite to strangers
  • Yet, someone in Angels in America believes that relying on the compassion of strangers is “a foolish thing to do.” In light of the quote’s deeper significance, it seems appropriate to tell a disturbing story.

Pretentious Factor

Blanche is a bit out of her mind, and her phrase has nothing to do with kindness.

‘The Kindness of Strangers’ Film Review: Cast of Stars Cross Paths in Miserable Manhattan

Despite its upbeat title, “The Kindness of Strangers” is a depressing film, one that is so entwined with the plight of its characters that it is difficult to comprehend what the aim of it is in the first place. Perhaps there isn’t much aim other than to get a bunch of well-known actors together on occasion in dismal New York City during the winter. “Valentine’s Day” acts like one of those star-studded Garry Marshall ensemble pictures (“New Year’s Eve”), but it is made very sad until the final few minutes, when a tacked-on happy ending comes in time for the credits.

It is expected that she would spend the most of her time on screen searching for supplies and finding out how to continue surviving in the huge metropolis without an income or other family members to rely on.

Additionally, check out: “Their Finest” Review: British Screenwriters Keep Calm and Carry On in this Exciting World War II Story In a different area of town, Alice (Andrea Riseborough) is working yet another long, miserable shift as an ER nurse who simultaneously leads a therapy group and oversees the operation of a church food pantry.

  • Other characters will be sympathetic to her plight as a result of her being unmarried.
  • Timofey (Bill Nighy), a desperate restaurant owner, assumes a wavering Russian accent in order to better meet the demands of his regular diners, but he plainly need the administrative assistance of Marc (Tahar Rahim) in order to keep his doors open.
  • Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones) is a loner who has difficulty connecting with people and maintaining a job.
  • Take a look at the video: The Cast of ‘Possessor’ Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott Discuss How They Gained Access to Each Other’s Thought Processes It’s a shame that there’s so much narrative and so many people, but they never come together to form anything more significant.
  • Although both of these films were adaptations of other works, the writing in “The Kindness of Strangers” is its most severe defect, and it is the most deadly flaw in the entire film.
  • Alice, who is chronically sleep-deprived, will be brought to her breaking point in practically every scene in which one of Clara’s children becomes separated from his or her family.
  • The last 20 or so minutes are spent frantically attempting to fix everyone’s problems in a nice and ordered manner, which feels like a reverse of all of the wallowing that had taken place before that.
  • Check out these other articles:Oscars 2020: Women Won a Record-Breaking 33 Percent of All Statuettes Many of the characters rely on the goodwill of strangers, and a few of them even get the opportunity to repay that compassion to someone else.
  • “The Kindness of Strangers” may have the best of intentions, but audiences may not be moved by the film’s artificial, uplifting conclusion for any reason other than the fact that they’ll be relieved that the film is finished.

Although it is true that the winters are dreary in our part of the world, the sun does shine every now and again, which provides more love and warmth than the characters in this film receive.

9 Women Who Have Directed Movies With $100 Million Budgets (Photos)

However, despite its upbeat title, “The Kindness of Strangers” is an uncomfortably depressing film, one that is so enmeshed in the misery of its characters that it is difficult to comprehend what the point of it is in the first place. Perhaps there isn’t much aim other than to get a lot of well-known actors together on occasion in dismal New York City during the winter months. Essentially, the film acts as one of those star-studded Garry Marshall ensemble pictures (“Valentine’s Day” or “New Year’s Eve”), but it is made very sad until the final few minutes, when a tacked-on happy ending appears just in time for the credits.

  1. It is expected that she will spend the most of her time on screen searching for supplies and finding out how to continue to live in the huge metropolis without an income or other relatives to rely on.
  2. Additionally, check out: “Their Finest” Review: British Screenwriters.
  3. On the opposite side of town, Alice (Andrea Riseborough) is putting in yet another long and unpleasant shift as an ER nurse who simultaneously serves as a therapy group facilitator and operates a church soup kitchen.
  4. People around her will be sympathetic to her plight as a result of her being alone.
  5. To better fit the demands of his regular customers, Timofey (Bill Nighy) changes his accent to a wavering Russian one.
  6. Marc keeps in touch with the lawyer who helped him get out of jail, John Peter (Jay Baruchel), who is usually addressed by his full name, and the two continue to meet at Alice’s therapy group.
  7. He is yet another destitute New Yorker who will require assistance from strangers to survive.
  8. Other Scherfig works include “Their Finest,” a sad World War II drama about a woman trying to get into film production for the war effort, and “An Education,” a psychological thriller that centers on a young girl who is lured by an attractive older man.
  9. It’s easy to forecast events since they’re so neatly positioned.
  10. The only thing that varies from scenario to situation is how low each character will be stooped to.

Another type of scene is one that is so blatantly obvious that it is almost comical, such as when Clara’s abusive husband is caught in the act of murdering one of her children, how one of her sons’ computer obsession pays off in the end, or when Jeff awkwardly proposes to Alice in order for her to get some much-needed sex.

Many of the characters rely on the goodwill of strangers, and a few of them even get the opportunity to repay that charity to someone else in need.

In spite of the finest efforts, “The Kindness of Strangers” may fail to enthrall spectators for any reason other than the fact that they will be relieved when the film is finished.

Although it is true that the winters are bleak in our part of the world, the sun does appear every now and then, providing more love and warmth than the people in this film are given.

‘The Kindness of Strangers’ Review: Great Performances Can’t Save Lone Scherfig’s Awkward Melodrama

Even under the best of circumstances, New York Place can be a harsh and brutal city. Because of this, ” The Kindness of Strangers ” does not take place in the most favorable of conditions for the uncomfortable patchwork of individuals that occupy Lone Scherfig’s listless new melodrama. It seems as though every character in the picture is lost and lonely in some manner; every character feels powerless or guilty in some way; and every character is either about to hit rock bottom or beginning to claw their way out of a hole that is too deep to get out of without aid.

  • As Clara, played by a gentle and compellingly frazzled Zoe Kazan, we see her sneak her two young sons (Jack Fulton and Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) out from their Buffalo home and from their violent officer husband (Esben Smed as the demonic Richard), who has just turned his fury on them.
  • Of all, it’s not like Richard enabled Clara to acquire much of a sense of self in her later years.
  • Clara is eventually forced to sleep in her vehicle and steal food, the latter habit leading to the most bizarre twist in a film that feels like it is completely built of incomprehensible choices and unexpected encounters: Clara meets and falls in love with a stranger.
  • As a result, her youngest kid develops a love for caviar, which prompts her to order their next dinner from an extravagant Russian restaurant she discovers near Wall Street and steal it for them.
  • He’s a lovely man who’s ready to put his faith in anybody who walks into his store and his most recent recruit — a gorgeous, recently released ex-con called Marc (Tahar Rahim) — is eager to reflect his boss’s good intentions.
  • They work together to make the joint seem like a warm hug in a cold city, and a hive of compassion in a film when everyone could use a little more kindness in their lives.

While the stumbling opening act is primarily propelled forward by Kazan’s desperate sense of parental duty (it’s heartbreaking to watch her struggle to balance her own needs with those of her children, and to wrestle with the ways in which they don’t quite overlap), it’s also sustained by the expectation that everyone in Scherfig’s jumbled ensemble will be drawn towards the enchanted restaurant where they’ll be able to redeem themselves and each other.

But, although it’s possible that they are, the film never finds its center of gravity, or recognizes how the Winter Palace may help galvanize this tale into something greater than the sum of its mishappen pieces.

If so, it might be because Scherfig is venturing outside of her comfort zone and striving to combine the stately European romanticism of her past work (e.g., in the films “An Education” and “Their Finest”) with the hardscrabble atmosphere of a mercenary American environment.

Scherfig’s method is based on a fable-like logic that makes everything appear to be partly fictitious.

There are times when it’s difficult to tell whether Jeff is supposed to be intellectually handicapped in some way, and there are times when it’s difficult to tell whether Scherfig is playing his hopelessness for laughs; sandwiched between difficult sketches of Clara’s encroaching homelessness, we see Jeff lose an apartment because he drops his phone in the toaster and lose a temp job because he mistakes a fluffy dog named Beyoncé for a bed sheet and buries it under Jeff, who is in desperate need of a meal, arrives at a soup kitchen and finds himself on the wrong side of the counter.

  • He is then offered an apron.
  • However, despite the fact that Kazan and Rahim are both enormously appealing performers, “The Kindness of Strangers” cuts them out of their most romantic passages, maybe in the hope that by suffocating their connection, the film’s balance between suffering and magic will be restored.
  • Despite the fact that his goals aren’t creepy in the traditional sense, his motivations are too unclear for a film that overcomplicates its most fundamental emotions.
  • Even the most proficient characters have a tinge of unreality about them.
  • While “The Kindness of Strangers” is Clara’s narrative, it is Alice’s generosity that binds the story together, and it is Alice’s self-interest that threatens to tear the story asunder.
  • Despite Alice’s despair, she never loses sight of her angelic nature, and her unwavering goodness pulls everyone to one side or the other.

While we are moved by the film’s benevolence, we are also moved by its struggle to persuade us that it is genuine goodness.

Grade: C-

The Berlin International Film Festival presented the world premiere of “The Kindness of Strangers.” It is now looking for distribution in the United States. Sign up here: Keep up with the most recent breaking film and television news! Subscribe to our email newsletters by filling out this form.

The Kindness of Strangers

The New York Review of Books Classics Book Club has announced their pick for January 2019. During the darkest years of the twentieth century, Salka Viertel’s autobiography chronicles the story of a clever, creative, and well-connected woman’s voyage via a distant region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Hollywood. According to S. N. Behrman, a writer for the New Yorker, “The Kindness of Strangers is a really rich book.” It presents a panoramic view of the civilizations that were vanishing in the twentieth century.

Her youth is a beguiling evocation of idyllic days gone by.

With the anguish and disruption of the First World War, as well as the grief and misery that followed, which is recounted with such intimacy and vividness that you feel as if you are experiencing these horrible years with the author, there is a lot to take in.

This is the first time that I’ve heard someone talk about Hollywood and the lives of authors there with such vigor.


It’s a good thing Greta Garbo encouraged her friend Salka Viertel to write, since she needed the encouragement. Viertel’s book, which includes cameo appearances by Kafka, Sarah Bernhardt, Eisenstein, and Christopher Isherwood, among many others, is humanistic, softly sarcastic, and dizzyingly entertaining. There are two vanished worlds in this film: the pre­Hitler German­-speaking stage and the pre­CGI Hollywood. There is also the narrative of an actress and playwright who has been daring in love and passionate about the arts her whole life.

  1. Salka concludes her book with a term about her ‘incorrigible heart,’ which she describes as thus.
  2. It provides us with an understanding of what it is to be a genuine person.
  3. According to Harold Clurman of The Nation In this open and gratifying account of her life, Mrs.
  4. — According to Kirkus Reviews Salka is no longer remembered today.

This exceptional woman deserves better, and everyone interested in the German exile experience should read her astonishing narrative as soon as possible. — Dialogue International, et al.

Nonfiction Book Review: Kindness of Strangers by Mike McIntyre, Author Berkley Publishing Group $12 (246p) ISBN 978-0-425-15455-7

The decision was made by McIntyre to confront his concerns and the precarious route his life was on by traveling from San Francisco to Cape Fear, North Carolina. Along the journey, he wanted to encounter some goodness in the heart of America, and he made a commitment not to accept any money in exchange for anything other than food, shelter, and companionship. The Kindness of Strangers is a novel in the vein of William Least-Heat Moon’s Blue Highways or Andrei Codrescu’s Road Scholar. It is the narrative of individuals who aid and hinder him on his journey: the enormous diversity of gentle souls and weirdos, as well as the best and worst of Americana.

An older lady who has a tear-shaped tattoo on her arm instructs him to feel at ease in nature and not to be afraid of the dark woods where he occasionally sleeps.

While most people along the route are nice and giving, there are plenty of individuals who have nefarious intentions that you must avoid.

It is not my dread of dying, but rather my fear of living, that is my greatest disgrace.” McIntyre writes with eloquence and rekindles hope in the character of the United States.

Berlin Film Review: ‘The Kindness of Strangers’

The words “Only connect” would be the most appropriate way to conclude ” The Kindness of Strangers ” if it were an E.M. Forster novel, even if the prospect of doing so is about as difficult to swallow as, well, just about anything that happens in Lone Scherfig’s strange, sticky mélange of social realism, Dickensian sentiment, and straight-up romantic fairy tale. This overly earnest Berlinale opener, which juggles parboiled spaghetti strands of narrative around Zoe Kazan’s modern-day Little Match Girl — a pure-hearted mother of two fleeing her abusive husband to live on the streets of Manhattan — is given some commercial lift by classy ensemble casting and the malted directorial polish we’ve come to expect from the helmer behind “An Education” and “Their Finest.” Even Kazan’s unwavering dedication to the material, however, is unable to reconcile the conflict between hardness and whimsy in Scherfig’s schizo moral tale.

“Can’t you simply be a little nicer?” When one of the characters, who is worn down to the bone by cynicism and a desire to be number one, begs towards the conclusion of the film, it is clear that she is not alone in her feelings.

“The Kindness of Strangers,” Scherfig’s first feature film as a writer-director since the charming 2000 crowd-pleaser “Italian for Beginners,” practically plays as her modern-day take on Capra-corn — call it Scherfig-schmaltz — right down to the suspended reality of its setting: a declawed, snow-flecked New York City where the same half-dozen lost souls keep bumping into each other at every turn.

  • It is possible that the Big Apple in the film lacks a true bite due to a number of logistical reasons: Toronto and Copenhagen both serve as stand-ins for the city in this Danish-Canadian-Swedish-French-German co-production, which is set in and around Copenhagen.
  • Clara’s predicament becomes apparent only after a long period of time.
  • With no family to turn to and the local police all on Richard’s side, they are forced to rely on — well, you’ve already seen what happens in the title.
  • Its most reluctant member is Marc (Tahar Rahim), a good-hearted ex-con who is attempting to rebuild his life by managing a weird Russian restaurant for its even more eccentric entrepreneur Timofey (Alexander Skarsgard) (Bill Nighy).
  • Whether they realize it or not, these varyingly unkempt but typically gorgeous misfits all have something to give one another.
  • Are we going to see a slightly accented version of Bill Nighy’s lovably decaying cad act?

Despite Clara’s desperation, no amount of goodwill can make up for the extremely strange narrative connotations of the third act, which fudges an important transition into courtroom drama, which serves as the emotionally fraught culmination of her ordeal, with an unnecessary dialogue-free montage.

Indeed, the whole company puts out their best efforts, even Rahim, who appears to be the least at ease in his standard role as a battered but still hopeful dreamboat captain.

) (Sebastian Blenkov’s exquisitely frosted lensing and Andrew Lockington’s over-egged yet ornately violin-lashed soundtrack each contribute to this effort.) Because of Kazan’s exceptional abilities, she is able to pull palpably wounded emotional reality from a terrified pixie dreamgirl character whose judgments don’t always stand up to careful inspection in the first place.

It isn’t quite the main display she deserves, but it generates enough goodwill toward her to fill an entire charity store’s worth of goodwill toward her anyway.

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