Review: ‘Brothers’

Hot Docs 2016

2 mins read

(Norway, 102 min.)
Dir. Aslaug Holm
Programme: International Spectrum (North American Premiere)


Director Aslaug Holm documents her two boys growing up over a decade, narrating her interpretation of their story while interweaving her own. “The small moments contain everything,” she states. Her idiosyncratic, read-between-the-lines philosophy makes Holm’s story fascinating and fulfilling to take in. While obvious Boyhood comparisons may ensue, the film also hints at Doug Block’s chronicle of his own daughter growing up in The Kids Grow Up, and Sarah Polley’s crafty and visually intricate Stories We Tell. The film tenderly fuses the narrative of growing up with an intuitive visual collage of styles and time periods.

Holm’s own philosophies and personal anecdotes on her own history are peppered throughout the film. While she examines seemingly weighty issues like memory and familial identity, there is a lightness of spirit that carries Brothers, never slowing the audience down. A number of scenes are instilled with a gentle humor highlighting the mundane events of her sons doing homework and playing futbol. Holm’s careful fusion of boyhood chronicle with abstracted personal anecdotes seamlessly carries us from scene to scene. She quotes fellow Scandinavian director, Ingmar Bergman saying, “make every film as if it’s your last.” Holm utilizes this level of care and precision to make Brothers an exemplary exercise in personal documentary storytelling.

Brothers screens:
-Friday, April 29 at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 6:45 PM
-Saturday, April 30 at Cineplex Scotiabank at 1:00 PM
-Friday, May 6 at Cineplex Scotiabank at 4:00 PM


Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit for more information.

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