A Day and a Half (2023) – Review and Summary

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Fares Fares writes, directs, and stars in “A Day and a Half,” a white-knuckle powerhouse drama that shouldn’t be missed.


“A Day and a Half” General Information

Director(s) Fares Fares
Screenplay By Fares Fares and Peter Smirnakos
Based On N/A
Date Released ( Netflix ) September 1, 2023
Genre(s) Drama

Thriller

Non-English (Swedish)

Film Length 1 Hour, 35  Minutes
Content Rating Rated TV-MA
Noted Characters and Cast
Lukas Fares Fares
Artan Alexej Manvelov
Louise Alma Pöysti

What Is “A Day and a Half” Rated And Why?

“A Day and a Half” is Rated TV-MA due to profanity, violence, and tense subject matter.

“A Day and a Half” Film Summary

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“A Day and a Half” drops us right into the tension. Set in rural areas of Sweden, we’re introduced to Artan (Alexej Manvelov) as if we were guests in the hospital he’s visiting, too. Artan requests to see Louise, and what starts as a seemingly upset hospital guest quickly turns into a tense hostage takeover as Artan pulls out a gun. Within minutes, our attention is held hostage as Artan demands to see his wife, Louise.

Louise (Alma Pöysti) stands firmly against her husband. She may be afraid, but she’s resilient to his demands about seeing their daughter. The longer Artan threatens his wife and the hospital with a gun, the more people are alarmed from outside. One of those individuals is policeman Lukas (Fares Fares), a seasoned veteran who is tasked with handling the hostage takeover. Lukas enters the hospital and speaks with calm and precision, rarely blinking and always making eye contact as he confronts Artan. You can cut the tension with a spoon.

Artan wants a safe passage out of Sweden with his wife and child. Louise wants her and their child away from him. Lukas wants to ensure that no one is hurt. And so begins the white-knuckle journey that is “A Day and a Half.”

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Artan (Alexej Manvelov) holds his wife Louise (Alma Pöysti) hostage in “A Day and a Half” (Fares Fares, Netflix, 2023)

To speak more about the plot would be a disservice to “A Day and a Half,” a movie that relies on the viewer not knowing just where the story will go next. This film demands your attention; it unravels with concise direction and writing that demonstrates you can make a riveting 90-minute movie rooted in unflinching realism. Fares Fares’ directorial debut is a necessary watch for those who yearn for old-school filmmaking magic.

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. Fares Fares plays Lukas while also being credited as the writer and director of “A Day and a Half.”

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Lukas

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Lukas (Fares Fares) in “A Day and a Half” (Fares Fares, Netflix, 2023)

A mature and hardened police officer who does his best to keep a situation away from violence, Lukas is direct and short with his words, but the pressures of his job get him to reflect on his personal life.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Westworld,” their role in “Star Wars: Rogue One,” and their role in “The Wheel of Time.”

Artan

A frustrated and panicked husband who’s going through a divorce with his wife, Louise. Artan feels betrayed by those he loves most and is willing to risk his own life to make himself heard.

  • The actor is also known for their roles in “Top Dog” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.”

Louise

A trapped wife who feels belittled and hurt by her parents and husband. Louise has never had many people to depend on and increasingly feels isolated and depressed by those she loves.

  • The actor is also known for their roles in “Fallen Leaves” and “Blackwater.”

“A Day and a Half” Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended 

Who Is This For?

Viewers looking for tense, realistic dramas, fans of thrillers that unfold quickly, and people who want to see a good movie should watch “A Day and a Half.”

Notable Performances or Moments

An Enthralling Showcase for Fares, Manvelov, and Pöysti

“A Day and a Half” works as a play as much as it does a movie. Fares, Manvelov, and Pöysti each have a chance to play both villain and victim in this increasingly gray world. They make the simplest blink of an eye a gripping choice, as we could see the look of poor past choices and limited new ones on each of their faces. What often draws viewers to a movie is the concept, but what keeps us there is the performance. These three actors keep us close and never let go.

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Highlights

A Commitment to Realism 

There is little external sound or music within “A Day and a Half.” There’s nothing particularly flashy about its stylistic choices. There’s no trick in editing that takes us forward or backward in time. The events occur often in real-time, the arguments are intimate, and Faras makes sure that you understand the reasoning behind each character’s choices. All of these directorial decisions make the viewer feel as if we’re in the car with Lukas, Artan, and Louise.

Concise Writing and Drama

“A Day and a Half” is able to make viewers gasp, laugh, and cry with each character in the course of 90 minutes. We don’t need to know every detail about Artan and Louise’s relationship; we inherently understand it. Fares Fares trusts the viewer to make the connections and know the stakes of the relationship we see unfold.

Insight into Sweden’s Political Climate

The movie’s secret weapon is its inclusion of Sweden’s current political climate. “A Day and a Half” conveys that our lives aren’t necessarily the result of individual choices, but like our characters, we’re also held hostage to socioeconomics out of our control. From postpartum depression to xenophobia, “A Day and a Half” shows that our drama and tragedies can be the effects of national causes.

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Dog Day Afternoon
  2. A Separation
  3. Phone Booth

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

FAQs

Answers to some questions you may have regarding this movie:

The Reason The Movie Is Named “A Day and a Half”

“A Day and a Half” receives its title from the amount of time that takes place throughout the story.


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