Set in Norway during the 1950s, this dark comedy chronicles the coming-of-age of a rebellious daughter of a rural priest who was born and raised in a repressive tiny village. The problem is that moody Maria is terribly aware of her burgeoning sexuality. At times not succumbing to the insistent thrumming of her adolescent hormones makes life unbearable. Her only balm comes from lonely walks and her secret readings of the racy parts of the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament. The other kids sense the change in her and she's the butt of many unkind jokes and comments. One day while strolling alone through the forest, Maria encounters the church caretaker Mrs. Tunheim. Surprisingly, it is she who encourages Maria to test her sexual wings and savor life as it was meant to be enjoyed. But that for the reclusive Maria is easier said than done. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
This movie is absolutely fabulous if you are interested in the subject of an adolescent struggling with her religious beliefs even though a strict Norwegian Lutheran's priest/pastor's daughter.
More than a "coming of age" film, more than a film showing through story the dangers of religious hypocrisy, this is a movie that handles the conflicts very sensitively, believably, and has many moments of hope even though the priest seems to be destroying the spirit of this daughter.
As you view the film you will see that it is ironic that the girl's spirit is actually saved by a surrogate mother, one of the "church hags" who assists the priest with the service and his vestments.
This is not a simple movie and it is beautifully photographed with wonderful, appropriate music. The themes of growing up are handled truthfully. It is a rich movie.