In recent years, Tove Jansson’s iconic Moomins characters have been more popular than ever. The cutesy creatures are everywhere, with their faces on endless merchandise in any gift shop you step in. So, it was only a matter of time until someone made a biopic of their fascinating, complicated creator.
This slow and quaint Nordic drama is a surprisingly engaging film, covering the titular artist’s (Alma Pöysti) formative adult years from just before the end of WWII to the 1950s – with a great deal of focus on the loves of her life, including theatre director Vivica Bandler (Krista Kosonen). The film doesn’t break the biopic mould in any way, shape or form. It is certainly very simplistic in narrative structure and delivery, presenting Tove’s life story in a very linear and not-particularly-imaginative way. With such an approach, the film might as well have been a documentary.
But thanks to a beautifully subtle and layered performance from Pöysti and some lovely visuals, this is a sweet and compelling drama that more than lives up to the iconic legacy of the Moomins. Shining a spotlight on their talented creator who many of us probably couldn’t even name, the film is a wonderful snapshot of her life and career – and will perhaps even strengthen your appreciate of her adorable creation.
TOVE is in select cinemas 9 July from Blue Finch Film Releasing