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Uncover the hidden gems of Netflix with arts reporter Noelle Lilley each week as she taps into this treasure-trove of undiscovered potential.

Hello ladies and gents, welcome to the first of many (fingers crossed) movie reviews by yours truly. "Netflix Unknowns" is a review of little-known films that either didn't have a wide theatrical release or were simply overlooked. Reviews of films will remain as spoiler-free as possible because I personally maintain a firm distaste of those who spoil movie endings, one that I usually reserve for geometry and sloppy joes. 

As we take this journey, I pray that you not only find new options for your "Netflix and chill" dates but gain an appreciation of clich├ęd indie films parallel to my very own. 

As a film and media production minor, I also hope to hone my own skills throughout this process. Let's see how this works out for both of us.

I will analyze each film on a scale of one to five based on plot, cinematography, acting and direction. Then I will take the average of these categories to give an overall score.

The first film I will be reviewing is "Copenhagen," a 2014 independent U.S.-Canadian coming-of-age film, written and directed by Mark Raso. 

This plot focuses on 28-year-old William (Gethin Anthony) as he travels throughout Europe in the hopes of finding his paternal relatives in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark. From the jump, it's clear that William has daddy issues. His father abandoned him as a child. Because of this, he maintains an immature at best, and disgusting at worst personality. His father has recently passed away, but before doing so, he gave his son the task of delivering a letter to William's grandfather. 

While in Copenhagen, he meets Effie (Frederikke Dahl Hansen) who agrees to show him the city and help him find his family. As the two explore, they grow closer and feelings develop. The audience watches as William connects with and respects Effie in a way he never has with another woman. The catch? Effie is half his age. That's right, folks. She's 14. 

Ok, ok, I know what you're thinking. What happened to this being a spoiler-free zone? Before you throw your computer/laptop/tablet/phone away in disgust, everybody relax. This key fact of the plot is told in the movie's basic summary, so if you decide to watch it then I'm not sharing anything you won't already know from the beginning.

Plot 3/5

I liked this plot quite a bit. Surprisingly, I enjoyed that the viewer is told head-on about the age difference between the two star-crossed lovers (again, assuming you've read the synopsis). Usually, I would hate this — I'm a sucker for a twist. However, with this movie, it worked. Especially because the viewer knows before our poor protagonist does that Effie is far too young for him. I will admit, however, that as the film reached its climax, I could feel myself becoming less interested in William finding his family and more interested in how the love story would play out. Perhaps this was the director's intentions, but there were times when I didn't care so much if William reconnected with his family, which probably isn't a good thing. William's personal journey was essential to his character development and should have been emphasized more so than the knee-buckling, oh-my-god-are-they-about-to-kiss tension.

Cinematography 4/5

Man, was this beautiful. Copenhagen, Denmark, is already a gorgeous city and the movie absolutely does it justice. There were scenes that made me gasp and hit rewind to relive the breathtaking background. Vivid colors and remarkable scenery are present and flourishing as well. 

Acting  5/5

Fan-freaking-tastic! William's character was awful. This is the kind of dude who could make Ghandi and Dr. King ready to square up and fight. I mean, honestly, the guy makes obscene gestures at sleeping people on airplanes, he is rude to waitresses and is just an overall jerk. Actor Gethin Anthony plays this role flawlessly. He is so effortlessly obnoxious in the film that I wondered if he's like that in real life, too. Yet Anthony still maintains a sense of vulnerability that lets the viewer know there's more behind this Jekyll-and-Hyde persona. Frederikke Dahl Hansen is great as Effie, too. She's the perfect mix of wise-beyond-her-years and whimsical without being pretentious or childish. She's a wonderful balance to William, who might otherwise drown us with immaturity. I actually believed the love story and their chemistry.

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Direction 5/5

With a film like this, it could be easy to cross the line into Pervert-ville. However, film director Mark Raso does a fine job of making it clear that William is getting too close to Effie without portraying him as a creeper. I found myself cringing and sympathizing with his character. Instead of being fully repulsed and creeped out, I was actually rooting for these two and trying to bargain out some way that they could still be together. Well ... I mean, she'll be 15 next year and then ... only three more years ... that's not so bad. Nah. I know better. 

Overall average 4.25/5

Related Links:

10 new Netflix releases to kick off the new year

10 movies to make your next "Netflix and Chill" session the best one yet


Reach the reporter at nlilley@asu.edu or follow her @noelledl on Twitter.

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