THELMA (2017) Reviews and overview

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Thelma is a 2017 Norwegian supernatural horror film directed by Joachim Trier from a screenplay co-written with Eskil Vogt. It stars Eili Harboe, Okay Kaya, Ellen Dorrit Petersen and Henrik Rafaelsen.

A Norwegian student moves to Oslo and falls in love with another young woman. A series of disturbing events leads to the discovery that she has paranormal powers…

In the US, the film is distributed by The Orchard.


“Director Trier handles the difficult, layered, emotional nuances of sexual awakening, leaving one’s childhood home, and becoming an adult with the deftness of a filmmaker with decades more experience under his belt. And he does it in a way that feels genuine, without belying the rules he establishes.” Tom Joad, Ain’t It Cool News

“Harboe is phenomenal at capturing the blend of confusion that turns into something more like confidence. She figures out that she’s not like other girls. And the movie gets more terrifying as we figure that out with her. This is a beautifully modulated thriller, and it comes with a message that feels valuable—it’s not homosexuality that will bring about the devil but its repression.” Brian Tellico,

“he chief problem is that it can’t add any real mania to its surroundings to make its genre-trappings feel like anything more than a calculation for some kind of crossover appeal. None of the stabs at horror or science-fiction imagery come across as anything more than one obvious psychological signifier after another.” Ethan Vestby, The Film Stage

“While Thelma may not completely be the bone chilling tale one might hope for, it does lean on the science fiction elements a little too much, the way Trier approaches Thelma’s sexual realization, and flips the traditional religious ideals of what constitutes good and evil, makes Thelma will worth a look.” Courtney Small, Cinema Axis

“The performances are competent, but Thelma is a movie of ill-defined genre intentions. It fails as a love story, it fails as a thriller, it fails as social satire, and it fails as horror. What’s left is a two-hour hole where your life was before you watched this unsatisfying film from Norway.” Cole Smithey

“Even in the film’s imagery of the story’s most terrible things, there is great beauty to behold; at times, it’s simply breathtaking. Much of that imagery plays with water — in her sweat, in the ice, the bathtub, and the lake. While no major character in Thelma comes out unscathed, there, too, is hope in the film’s denouement…” Michele Galgana, Screen Anarchy

“Too much of the film feels like a school thesis, not the work of a major emerging filmmaker just hitting his stride, and a predictable finale ends things on a trite, obvious note that seems worlds away from the heart-stoppingly evocative opening that’s so lush with mystery and promise.” Jake Cole, Slant magazine


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