It’s the weekend when John and his daughter Jenny go to Motala for a basketball game that Jenny is going to play. It’s the weekend when John gets replaced at his job. It’s the weekend when Jenny wants to stop playing basketball and be more with her friends. It’s the weekend when everything about the relationship between Jenny and John is going to change. It’s the last weekend with Jenny and John.
Writer and director Jimmy Olsson is always able to show love and life in his films in a way that makes mundane life feel extraordinary. Last Weekend with Jenny and John is no exception to his skill, really wanting to dive into a father-daughter relationship in a way that reflects his own life. From his interview on the film with James Prestridge on Close-Up Culture, he said “I felt I wanted to write something about being a parent and what happens to you when your children don’t need you anymore.”
Something I really liked about this story is that Jenny was a normal teenager and John was a loving father. There wasn’t any extra drama or worry, it simply was growing up and away, which happens in all parent-child relationships. Mattias Nordkvist (John) and Gry Eriksson (Jenny), had a true connection through their acting. I could see myself in Eriksson’s body language and worried voice. I could see my parents in Nordkvist’s line delivery and playfulness. Their onscreen presence felt truthful to the story and to real life. They were easy to watch and get along with as characters, and this was aided by Cinematographer Anna Smornonova’s choices for a 4:3 aspect ratio, and muted accent colours. It felt like we were watching the autumn of childhood, where the leaves start to change as thoughts and relationships do.
Watching this film as a daughter, I’m left feeling guilty for going through a period in my life when my parents were the last people I wanted to see. But then you begin to realise that your parents will have done the same thing to their parents, and so on. It’s an awful cycle that we don’t realise takes place until we have a child and are witnessing the change, or we see a true portrayal like this film and can begin to understand. I thought Olsson’s script was wonderful, each word the character’s spoke felt so honest to this situation. We didn’t need all the history and facts, we were able to easily join this pair on the sports trip and understand what it’s like to be a parent, but also to want to grow up.
Last Weekend with Jenny and John is a brilliant short film, showing how in life we need to separate to be able to grow, but that doesn’t mean we won’t ultimately come back together again.