Britt-Marie was Here (Britt-Marie var här) is a character study based on a novel by Fredrik Backman. Like all Backman’s characters, Britt-Marie is unique, a bit odd, and has a big growth arc during the time we get to know her.
Britt-Marie was Here (Britt-Marie var här) stars Pernilla August as Britt-Marie. She’s a 63 year old housewife. Circumstances force her to finally deal with the fact that her husband of 40 years, Kent (Peter Haber), has been cheating on her for years. She leaves him.
She has no skills. When she applies for a job she’s sent to a small town to be a soccer coach. She knows absolutely nothing about soccer. What she does know how to do is clean. Everything in her life is immaculate.
Then she meets the rowdy bunch of kids who want to be a soccer team and play in a tournament. They are terrible but she has no idea how to help them. She cleans up the youth center. She goes out on the patch of dirt that serves as a soccer field and watches helplessly as the kids struggle over the ball. She always carries her purse when she’s outside coaching, which is one of her many funny and charming characteristics.
The local cop, Sven (Anders Mossling), asks her out on a date. He also tells her about a room for rent in the home of Bank (Malin Levanon). She takes the room and realizes that the near-blind Bank was a former soccer star. Well, isn’t that convenient?
Britt-Marie slowly gets to know the kids. She has many deep conversations with the very mature Vega (Stella Oyoko Bengtsson), who thinks soccer is her only path to success. Vega also teaches Britt-Marie the difference between the scribbles on the side of the youth center and graffiti. Graffiti is significant, she announces, because it says you were there.
Britt-Marie does what she can, learns something about soccer, and the locals who care about the kids start to show up to help. Between the soccer, the kids, Bank, and the local cop, Britt-Marie deals with some major changes in her self. It’s lovely to watch her gain her footing in the world.
A quiet movie about an older woman may not be everyone’s favorite genre, but I thought it was a heartwarming story of courage and growth. It shows that it’s never too late to realize your dreams and be true to yourself.
Britt-Marie was Here (Britt-Marie var här) is in Swedish. It was directed by Tuva Novotny. It’s streaming on Prime Video. If you watch it, let me know what you think by leaving a comment.