Teddy Bear: Video Streaming Film Review

A Romantic Drama

Dennis in one of his many contemplative moments.
Dennis in one of his many contemplative moments. | Source
A hug between two lonely people.
A hug between two lonely people. | Source
Wonder if he ever saw the film Marty?
Wonder if he ever saw the film Marty? | Source

A Danish Film Available on Video Streaming

You will likely never see any muscle heads turned actors on Inside the Actors’ Studio. Whatever success they may have enjoyed cinema-wise, it is more than likely to have more along the lines of a cult following which is more for popularity than qualitative acting performances.

Perhaps a single exception might someday be made for Kim Kold, a professional bodybuilder from Denmark. Mr. Kold, a giant of a man standing six foot seven inches tall and weighing over three hundred pounds, who turned in one of the most interesting, understated performances in recent memory as the severely shy Dennis, who lives with his aging and rather intense, widowed mother, Ingrid, in the 2012 film, Teddy Bear.

Life in their rather modest suburban flat outside Copenhagen is somewhat stifling. Ingrid, aging and frail, is rather dependent on her son for help as well as companionship. Dennis, at 38, harbors ambitions of a life out on his own. Between bodybuilding, working a second job, and helping Ingrid, Dennis’ personal life is pretty much non-existent.

When he learns that his uncle has met and happily married a woman from Thailand, he is inspired to give the Asian country a try for female companionship.

Telling Ingrid he is off to Germany for a bodybuilding contest, Dennis sneaks off to Pattaya, a Thai beach resort. Pattaya comes as considerable culture shock, with the monstrously muscular Dennis being quite the curiosity to the locals and the tourists.

When Dennis goes to a local Pattaya gym to work out, he meets, quite by accident, a lovely widower named Toi, whose late husband owned the gym.

There are plenty of challenges as the story barrels towards its arc and mentioning any further details would breach spoiler alert etiquette.

Teddy Bear is Mads Matthiesen’s debut feature film, based on his 2007 short film Dennis. Both were written by Martin Zandvliet. It is a relatively simple tale and,in its simplicity, it becomes tedious at times.

There are far too many solitary moments with Kold, as Dennis, walking alone or looking out windows. There seems to be some who think that Dennis is something of a momma’s boy but with upper arms well over twenty inches, who is going to tell him?

Thankfully there is little to no music in Teddy Bear, which might have made Dennis’ lonely journey maudlin.

Those are the only two gripes I have about the film.

Kold is given just enough to do by director Matthiesen so as not to challenge his lack of acting experience. Kold's unique presence is an added draw to the film

As Toi, Lamaiporn Hougaard is lovely and composed with just enough charm. Teddy Bear appears to be her first acting role. Stature wise, she appears to be around five foot tall, roughly a foot and a half smaller than her dramatic counterpart.

Acting veteran Elsebeth Steentoft brings a nice touch of both intensity and vulnerability to the role of Ingrid, Dennis’ mother.

Teddy Bear reminded me of a modern day Marty, with Kim Kold as an uber jacked up Ernest Borgine.

The great joy of films like Teddy Bear being available via video streaming is that it can get an audience in small towns around the world that might not have been available otherwise. (I saw the film on Netflix.) I hope it does well because it is a very good film with a familiar story that has a different look and style. Mainstream Hollywood ruins simple concepts like this every year.

It is in both Danish with subtitles and English.

Teddy Bear is worth watching.





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