Infusing supernatural horror into the traditional coming-of-age narrative, Joachim Trier's Thelma is an atmospheric foray into the troubled psyche of its main protagonist, exploring the unseen, existential dread felt by an individual who feels detached and/or displaced from society, unable to find solace from within. A story of a college student who learns that her violent seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, and often powerful, supernatural abilities, Trier's aesthetic for this particular work is more foreboding and voyeuristic than his previous films, featuring a lens that often lurks from a slight distance, creating a subtle, atmospheric sense of foreboding dread. Thelma's underlying thematic assertions can be a tad enigmatic at times, yet through the film's sensitive treatment of its main protagonist, a young woman whom feels like an outsider, the film exudes a poignant study of existential dread and the search for identity. While the horror elements are effective in creating a tense atmosphere, Thelma works best when interpreted as a parable related to suppression, detailing the toxic nature it can have on the youthful sense of becoming, with our main protagonist's inability to understand and be comfortable with oneself leading to dangerous places due to her supernatural abilities. Whether it's sexual or emotional in nature, Trier's film reveals the debilitating nature suppression has on the psyche of a budding young mind, exhibiting how often such forms of suppression are used out of fear not love, detailing how such decisions can often inflict more trauma and pain in the long run.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.