One of the primary delights of this eight-part Swedish series is its unpredictability. It moves seamlessly between humour, romance, and drama. Love & Anarchy follows the entrance of a new planning professional whose task is to drive Lund & Lagerstedt towards a more decent future. It is set in a tiny, financially troubled book publishing firm. In its simplicity, this romantic comedy set in the office is unexpectedly uplifting. Langseth has developed two memorable characters in Sofie and Max, with the assistance of Ida Engvoll and Björn Mosten’s excellent interaction.
Love & Anarchy: Plot Overview
Sofie Rydman (Ida Engvoll) is a freelance advisor who the Lund & Lagerstedt publication company engage to assist them in their shift to the digital era. She is a career-driven woman who juggles her time with the family while moving her firm ahead while married with two kids. She meets creative director Friedrich Jägerstedt and more forward-thinking Denise Konar during her first day at the office.
They’ve gone over all of the manuscripts and are presently debating whether or not Denise should publish a hot young author. While walking in the corridor, Sofie has a run-in with Max Järvi. He is drilling through the walls while attempting to work. She experiences a similar run-in the next day and tells him to do the work when no one is around.
Sofie practices self-love at her workplace late that evening when she believes she’s undisturbed. As soon as Max enters the room, he notices Sofie going about her activity and snaps a photo. The next day, as he tells her about that and gives her the photo, he says he desires her to do something for him. As it turns out, he only wants her to go for a simple lunch with him.
Sofie does so, and she begins to feel drawn to the young man. She grabs the phone after he erases the photo. Later, she challenges him to go and do something crazy to get it back. But, instead, she connects with Max playfully, who pushes her to release her anarchist side in a season-long game of Dare. What starts as a sort of extortion rapidly devolves into a daring game between Sofie and Max.
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Love & Anarchy portrays Sofie as a solid woman. Except for the private monologues that hint at stress, she looks to be a lady who has it all. Successful job, a great husband (Johannes Kuhnke), children, and a lovely home. However, as the story unfolds, the fractures begin to appear.
Especially inside the family, wherein Sofie’s father’s (Lars Varinger) problems and her teenage daughter’s (Elsa Agemalm Reiland) problems influence her. Max, too, is dealing with familial difficulties.
Sofie’s inner conflict is subtly reflected in her changing look. These shift from beautifully groomed, front-foot-forward business lady to messier and far less precisely polished.
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If only we know the motives
There are several subplots the series touches while following the two main characters in their games. The most important one concerns the company they work for. The publishing company ignores going digital, but they now have little choice if they don’t want to go out of business. This is a good enough narrative, but we’ve heard it so many times before. Every dispute between Friedrich Jägerstedt (Reine Brynolfsson) and public relations coordinator Denise Konar (Gizem Erdoan) seemed familiar.
It isn’t until the very end of the series that one completely comprehends Sofie’s reason for playing these games with a much younger person. Sofie looks to have the ideal family life and is a self-assured career-driven lady. Still, as the episodes go and the tasks become bolder, her character begins to break the façade she must maintain.
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Love & Anarchy may be hilarious, sensual, and tragic all at the same time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really do anything particularly original or new that we haven’t seen before in this genre. The characters are pretty much basic, sporting all the usual suspects. Including clueless boss Ronny, bumbling Friedrich and the severely ignored lesbian Denise.
These characters essentially rely on Sofie to save their business, propping her up as the savior of this company. After all, there’s something poetically ironic about an ambitious writer working in a publication firm. The series shows her reading various manuscripts and developing a love for writing.
Directly interacting with bosses and making the publishing house successful with her own creative works. Although the last episode hints Langseth didn’t know how to conclude the narrative, it’s a fun and strange trip for the most part.
The show-runners of Love & Anarchy could have spent more time helping us getting to know Max and learning why Sofia is so dissatisfied with what appears to be a nice married life. Sometimes, the flirting seems to come out of nowhere, leaving us chilly. Instead of spending time establishing its protagonists, the show concentrates on its relationships.
Particularly the on-again, off-again relationship between Max and Sofie. The main issue is that none of the characters changes or mature during the series.
It’s the problem that virtually every individual on the series faces. No one else, except Friedrich, has a continuous or relevant arc. This is especially true when it comes to the secondary characters. Despite the early promise of female empowerment, it’s frustrating not to see much of that in effect throughout.
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Style and cinematography
Love & Anarchy is styled like a standard workplace drama. A lot of settings and a heavy reliance on the conversation to propel the plot. Like The Office or the French mockumentary Fais Pas Ci, Fais Pas Ca, the cinematography depends heavily on zoom views.
However, it doesn’t help the comedy and provides a much more unprofessional feel than it should. There is one intriguing sequence featuring surrealistic imagery to still be fair. But, the rest of the series is presented in a rather simple manner.
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Is Love & Anarchy worth a watch?
This seems like a scene from a comedy-drama from the 1990s or perhaps the mid-2000s. Of course, a publication without even an internet presence is terribly behind the trends.
As a result, we spend plenty of time at work watching others argue. Sofia suggests that people read texts and/or choose sides using 21st-century technology.
In the end, Love & Anarchy is a fun but ultimately inconsequential Swedish drama. It’s a comedy that attempts to develop its relationships and invests most of its time going around in circles. Stream it on Netflix.
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[…] Love & Anarchy: Surprisingly enjoyable twisted tale of games […]