Stockholm, Pennsylvania online movie review - Riveting, Deliberate, Uncomfortable Must-See
Leanne/Leia (Saoirse Ronan) is a young woman who has had two crimes committed against her: she was stolen from her family, and she was robbed of a soul.
She was kidnapped as a young child and confined to a windowless room by a kind but deranged stranger (Jason Isaacs) who raised her on lies and subtle influences to make her believe he was her only hope in life (hence the title "Stockholm" Pennsylvania). For obvious reasons, he intended to limit her understanding of the outside world and subsequently rendered her incapable of handling life beyond his walls.
Then it happens that Leia is freed and returned to her biological parents. It should be a happy, joyful reunion; unfortunately, it is anything but.
I'm a huge fan of Saoirse Ronan. She thrilled me in Hanna and ripped my guts out in the Lovely Bones. In this movie she has to play it down, as her character is emotionally stunted from captivity and psychically overwhelmed by the real world. She does a wonderful job as the detached escapee, conveying a wide range of emotions just with those big blue eyes and also with her control of subtle facial expressions.
Cynthia Nixon is also outstanding as the mother, who not only has to accept her own daughter's alienation of affection but also the horrible reality that Leia cannot accept her new situation. She and her flummoxed husband (David Warshofsky) struggle to rekindle the warmth and congeniality of a familial bond that has never really had a chance to exist, while battling with issues that no parent would ever want to have.
Strong praise for writer/director Nikole Beckwith for composing a riveting (if at times deliberately slow-paced) depiction of a true tragedy. Her scenes are at times difficult to endure, but the story is excellent.