Much has been said about companionship being the greatest form of love. As elusive as this feels sometimes, it often presents itself in the most unlikeliest of places. Little did I know that I would find it in a small budget arthouse Danish film, where a weighty subject matter finds its match in the weightlessness of companionship.
Set in the wake of the conflict in Afghanistan, Walk With Me explores the debilitating effects of war and the healing powers of nascent love. Heavily wounded from a mission in Afghanistan, Thomas (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard) is re-adjusting to life in a rehabilitation ward as a double amputee. Despite his injuries he remains fixated on returning to the war-torn country and is dismayed at his glacial rate of recovery. When Sofie (Cecilie Lassen) – an ascending ballerina whose aunt is also recuperating at the same ward – offers to oversee his rehabilitation regime, Thomas grudgingly accepts.
It is perhaps unsurprising that such an adroit and delicate portrayal of light, love and ultimately, regeneration, could only have been made possible by the feminine touch. Lisa Ohlin (as director) and Karina Dam (as screenwriter) deserve full credit for this. Ohlin herself revealed that inspiration for the film stemmed from real-life meetings between wounded soldiers in Denmark and dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet. Love was an inescapable ingredient.
What did surprise me was the effectiveness at which such a slow-burn romance tugged at the heartstrings. They spoke little; instead relying on their deepening companionship and spiritual symbiosis to convey what words could not. Ohlin’s subtleties in delivery accentuated the protagonists’ personal charm, particularly that of Folsgaard, whose elevation from the mad king in A Royal Affair to the quintessential Scandinavian heartthrob was all but complete. Lassen’s onscreen debut as Sofie is exquisite, and as a former ballerina herself, adds an authentic, uplifting balance to Thomas’ ruggedness. And in an ending reminiscent of Hollywood’s Brooklyn, the natural serenity of Copenhagen put on the charm offensive, sealing their romance against the fading rays.
Walk With Me will no doubt stay with me for a long while. Whilst it may not have been Denmark’s answer to its submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards (the film was one of three shortlisted but the honour went to an equally deserving war tale Land of Mine), it gave me my answer to the underpinnings of an unforgettable love.
Rewatchability Index: 4/5.