A cute, happy, dysfunctional cast!
I’ve come to take quite a liking to black comedies that come out of the Nordic countries. They often focus on untraditional subject matters and have underlying social commentaries; in the case of The Art of Negative Thinking, the focus is on disabled people — a demographic that is usually never made light of in American culture, which regards disabled individuals as practically helpless.
Those who have personal experience with disabled people or are particularly sensitive to the subject might find this movie to be callous and cruel. But that would be a simplified view on the subject. The movie does not set out to make fun of the disabled. The characters in the movie are unique individuals, each with their own mental and physical dysfunctions. Despite whatever quirks they have, they react to crisis in ways that any human being off the street might. The scenes that are hilarious are not hilarious because they contain disabled people; they are hilarious because they are studies on human emotion that take unexpected turns.
It seems at times like the characters are acting irrationally or intensely, making it easy to generalize that the movie is making a mockery of the disabled. But what’s important to note is that the three non-disabled characters in the movie act just as irrationally as the disabled ones do. If anything, the movie almost sets out to prove that the playing field is level, and that everyone has a little bit of crazy in them.
Stein Berge Svendsen
Fridtjov Såheim, Kirsti Eline Torhaug, Henrik Mestad, Marian Saastad Ottesen, Kari Simonsen, Per Schaaning, Kjersti Holmen