A young woman sits in a college library by herself, separate from the rest of her peers. You can tell from her body language that she’s an introvert; uncertain, insecure, perhaps a little unusual. When a female classmate sits next to her, something strange begins to happen: Birds deliberately fly into the large glass windows of the library. Moments later, the young woman has a seizure, falls to the floor and urinates on herself. This is how Thelma formally introduces the eponymous character to her classmates, and, in some ways, it is Thelma’s first meaningful interaction with herself — and it won’t be her last.
In the most reductive terms, you could describe Thelma (as it was described to me) as Carrie: The College Years. But as the first trailer reveals, Joachim Trier’s latest is much more than that: A love story, a tale of suppressed identity and self-acceptance, a supernatural thriller, and a stirring psychodrama. It’s also Norway’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar. Like the titular protagonist, there’s something different about Thelma.