Following her divorce, Alice has not seen her children for two months. She is waiting for a custody decision before her husband Matthias can isolate her from their shared past. After a late-night call from her son, Alice decides to return to her family home in the north of Sweden. Arriving in her hometown, she feels as if she’s at the scene of a crime. Desperate and reckless, Alice kidnaps the children and takes them on holiday to the Canary Islands. All Alice wants is to prove that she can be a mother to her children.
Umeå-born director Amanda Kernell grew up with divorced parents, which gives this character drama a personal touch. Her debut film, the coming-of-age story Sami Blood (2016) has screened at RIGA IFF. The film, also deeply personal, focuses on the discrimination that the Sami people faced in Sweden a hundred years ago. In Charter, which is Sweden’s entry for the 2021 Academy Awards, the director examines Alice’s attempts to be a “good mother” within Sweden’s child custody system by asking: do parents have to be willing to sacrifice everything for their children? Even if it means loving and giving them up?