This is not a film about losing virginity. It is also not about being fit. The film is a reminder that loving one’s own self is equally necessary, if not more. Like Fusi, the film’s ambitions are reserved. But also like him, it’s clear about what it wants and gets it with grace.
3.5 out of 4 stars
The boy next door
Fusi (Gunnar Jónsson) is a beautiful man. He looks big, is 42 years old, and is mostly alone. But one real interaction with him, you will see how soft he is. He takes care of his mother. Most of the time he keeps to himself. But he is good at his job because his employer likes him. He works at the airport, which is also symbolic. While people around him fly away, he holds on to things dear to him. That doesn’t make for a happy guy. But Fusi is someone who will choose to be content over happiness. Plus he is extremely shy and awkward around people. Though that might not be because of his size. It’s because Fusi knows that relations are built upon understanding. And nobody around is willing to take the time to understand him.
Therefore, Fusi prefers to remain a boy. That is, like an unsure boy, he avoids embarking on directions that he doesn’t get. He loves to play war games. But they are more strategic and might put many people to sleep. But for a man who is thinking about war, even though at very trivial levels, Fusi is extremely peaceful. At work some people bully him. Fusi takes it all silently. It’s as if he knows his burdens and is ready to bear it all. You find real happiness when you have figured out what your burdens are.
The girl with the flower shop
One fine day, Fusi discovers that his mother has a boyfriend. He gets the news in the most shocking way. But he knows not to ask questions. Also, her lover is pretty good with Fusi. He gives Fusi a membership in a dancing club. For a man who barely moves when not required, this is an uphill task. But when he finally decides to go, he comes across Sjöfn (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir). Sjöfn’s unassuming friendliness attracts him. She takes him at face value. Nothing more, but nothing less. The two mingle based on the kind of music they like. She tells him that she works at a flower shop. But soon he finds out that she is actually a garbage collector. Fusi has no problems with it. But Sjöfn has a lot.
It appears that Sjöfn is the sort of person who is comfortable with herself only based on some conditions. She loves to think of herself in a specific way. That Fusi respected this image bloated the bubble. But she doesn’t understand that he respected her, not an image of her. When Fusi finds out the truth, she is forced to deal with her real self. Turns out, she is pretty bad at that. Her feelings acutely counterpoint the values that Fusi stands for. Unlike her, Fusi has no illusions about himself. He is ready to be with her when the chips are down. But he is reaffirmed that other people are not really prepared to understand him the way he tries to get them. A bitter experience with a neighbor’s child underlines this realization. How his different relationships develop and what Fusi does next form the rest of the story.
Overall Virgin Mountain might feel like a heart-warming story. But its essence is more a necessity than it is sweet. It is not a film about losing virginity. It is also not about being fit. The film is a reminder that loving one’s own self is equally necessary, if not more. Like Fusi, the film’s ambitions are reserved. But also like him, it’s clear about what it wants and gets it with grace.
Credits (from IMDb):
Olivier Bugge Coutté
Andri Steinn Guðjónsson … (as Andri Steinn)