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Starring Maja (Prinsessa)

February 16, 2013

Cinequest 2010


STARRING MAJA (PRINSESSA) is a lovely Swedish film about an overweight, unattractive and clumsy young woman who wants to be an actress.  Most of the movie is spent watching her deal with harassment and being used as an object by others for their own purposes, but there is a quite satisfying ending that I found delightful.  I loved the film.

Initially I was not sure I wanted to see this film as friends of mine had said it was difficult to watch.  Indeed it is difficult to see the emotions Maja cannot help but reveal as she realizes the bit part in a TV show she was offered is actually for “fat, grotesque, ugly girl”.  The audience also feels the betrayal that Maja feels as she realizes her only friend was using her as almost everyone else in her life has done.

The film revolves not just around Maja, but also Erika, a failed documentarian turned wedding photographer.  She meets Maja at a wedding and decides to make a documentary about her.  Beautiful Erika believes she sees something of herself in Maja because she has also not been able to achieve her dreams and is deeply in debt.  However there is something somewhat disingenuous about such a gorgeous woman telling fat, unattractive Maja that she is truly beautiful and can be anything she wants to be.

StarringMayaMaja also has a school friend, a boy who has recently realized he is gay but has not come out to anyone but Maja.  These two forge the only true friendship that Maja has, and they end up a great (platonic) couple.

The ending is tied up happily and not too falsely.  Maja does not turn into a beautiful princess at the end, neither does she win the captain of the football team or become a movie starlet.  But she discovers who she is and along with her friend Alex they make it clear that they are going to take on the world on their own terms.  It is a hilarious, delightful ending that I just adored.

The film is sadly only available on non-USA DVD format.  But keep a look out for it, I thought it was outstanding.

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