The Stranger (En fremmed flytter ind) (2017) [Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2018]

Amanda is not looking for love, she is not even looking to date really. That is until someone reaches out to her online to introduce her to this charming man. She reluctantly accepts and meets this man who might just be a dream. He’s charming, he’s well-mannered, he seems to love her right away, and he’s the descendant of one of the richest families in the country. Or is he?

Directed by Nicole Nielsen Horanyi who co-wrote with Krister Moltzen, The Stranger is a retelling of a true story with most of the cast being the actual people it happened to, except for one part, the man who charmed Amanda and tricked her. This leads to a most honest feeling retelling. It’s not a documentary but it’s not fiction either. The film is written based on information provided by Amanda Kastrup, so it’s fairly one-sided, but as she does not sugar coat things or remove the mistakes and misjudgments she may have made, it comes off as a believable retelling of what transpired.

The film’s cast being the real people involved in what happened, except for the supposed prince charming, their performances are fairly natural but not professional which leads to the film feeling almost like a home movie of sorts. One where there is a bit of mystery as to who this man is, who he really is. The film takes these people and has them reenact the story they have lived, the events that lead to discovering the truth. Amanda Kastrup is the lead and the one the entirety of the film rests on really, her friends and family show up in small doses and they help keep the film grounded and show what she was dealing with. Other players come into the story here and there and help give the film a more well-rounded feel. For the part of Casper, an actor had to be hired as he was not able/available/willing to play along here. The actor chosen for this part is Esben Dalgaard Andersen who plays him as a charming man with a lot up his sleeve. The way he works here is believable and creates a better idea of what happened. The cast feels real and the way the film is done to give reality to the retelling.

The cinematography for The Stranger by Henrik Ipsen shows things straightforward and with an honest eye on everything. The camera work makes the film feel almost like cinéma vérité, a sort of reality cinema that shows things in their unvarnished truth. The film looks good and the style gives it something extra, something that fits the story and the way Amanda Kastrup tells it.

The Stranger (En fremmed flytter ind) tells a story that happens in various forms to too many people. The lies, the hope, the love, the fraud, etc, it all comes down to people trying to connect and some just plain being bad people. This film shows the truth as it is for its lead, as she saw it, as she felt it, helping the film as a whole connect with the audience and bringing the story home for many.