May el-Toukhy's 'Queen of Hearts' took home an audience award at its world premiere in Sundance and also drew attention from the international critics.
The drama about a dedicated lawyer, who jeopardizes her reputation and her family life when she seduces her 17-year-old stepson, was praised as an "intriguing and smartly sustained drama" (Screen), with director May el-Toukhy maintaining "an impressive grip on the tone" of the complex narrative (The Hollywood Reporter).
'Queen of Hearts', which is May el-Toukhy's second feature film and co-written with Maren Louise Käehne, also received three awards at the Göteborg Film Festival, including the top prize as Best Nordic Film. Most recently, Gustav Lindh, who plays the stepson, won for Best Actor in the Young Cinema Competition (World) at the Hong Kong Film Festival.
Opening in Denmark on 28 March, 'Queen of Hearts' enjoyed a unanimously enthusiastic reception from the press. Signing off reviews with five and, mostly, six stars, critics across the board proclaimed the film to be a major work in Danish cinema and May el-Toukhy a new leading voice, while Trine Dyrholm was applauded for one of her career's most powerful performances.
Despite the controversial topic, the film has fared well so far among local audiences. After two weeks, admission have reached 168,000. By comparison, Bille August's 'A Fortunate Man' sold 179,000 tickets after two weeks in the cinema and Paprika Steen's 'That Time of Year' 150,000 tickets – both of which titles landed on the top 10 of last year's most-seen films in Danish cinemas.
'Queen of Hearts' is produced by Caroline Blanco and René Ezra for Nordisk Film with support from the Danish Film Institute.
Sales agent Trustnordisk has sold the film to a number of territories, including the UK and Ireland with a planned release this summer.
In the press
'Queen of Hearts' was unanimously applauded by the Danish critics at its release on 28 March. A few quotes:
"'Queen of Hearts' will remain as a major work in Danish film." – Politiken (6 stars)
"The film prominently cultivates ambivalence without losing track of its complex material." – Berlingske (6 stars)
"(May) el-Toukhy has firmly grasped all the details of her captivating drama, which is a magnificent experience and proof of a world-class director." – Jyllands-Posten (5 stars)
"Trine Dyrholm is the most brilliant actor of our time because she balances the humane and the monstrous." – Information (no star rating)
"I will hardly see a better Danish film this year – or this decade for that matter." – Ekko Magazine (6 stars)