Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Commune” is about a gaggle of people who deserve more than the relatively conventional movie in which they appear. Set in 1975 in a gentrified coastal suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark, it initially features Erik (Ulrich Thomsen), an egomaniacal college lecturer in architecture, and his TV newscaster wife, Anna (Trine Dyrholm).
With their 14-tear-old daughter, Freja (Martha Sofie Wallstrøm Hansen), they decide to move into Erik’s inherited spacious family home and, with the help of friends, create a commune – to help pay the rent, mostly, but also because they want to experiment with a new way of living. For a while, the place is bohemia central, but soon the usual power grabs arise, not to mention a disruptive new addition: Emma (Helene Reingaard Neumann), a pretty 24-year-old student of Erik’s with whom he has taken up big time.
At first Anna attempts to be OK with this arrangement, but gradually – too gradually, it seemed to me – her woe and anger get the better of her. Erik is such a fat-headed jerk that the movie’s psychological dynamics are lopsided in the extreme. Also, Dyrholm’s extraordinary performance is conspicuously better than Thomsen’s. She’s the best – the only – reason to check out “The Commune.” Grade: B- (This movie is not rated.)