Playing this week at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema as part of its monthly ‘Doc Soup’ series is the documentary on the Danish tradition/lifestyle named Hygge. Quickly becoming a buzzword worldwide that some fear is quickly becoming commercialized, Finding Hygge tries to delve deep into the meaning behind the tradition with mixed results.
Hygge loosely translates to feelings of coziness and warmth, comfort and charm. It’s a lifestyle exercised by many Danes and means slightly different things to each person as Hygge can be attained in many ways and is very much a personal feeling. Through stories from many different individuals and families crossing every aspect of culture- farmers, journalists, businessmen, chefs and more- they all explain different ways they achieve Hyggigt in their lives. The film keeps introducing us to new people and examples throughout the film, leaving the audience with many different viewpoints on how Hygge is important.
And sadly, that’s the film biggest issue. The film starts so many stories and interactions with different people but never sticks long enough with them to truly explore them. And since Hygge means different things to different people, solely using Hygge as a storyline for the documentary never really works. About the only other concept that gets introduced is the notion of social media being an extremely negative influence in all our lives, with one person boldly stating “Social Media is a constant bombardment of things going great for everyone else” as to why this concept is ruining people’s lives. It’s an interesting debate that could be made and fleshed out, but it is quickly dropped as the film shifts to yet another different scenario. The film also grazes over the commercialization of the Hygge trend, another story aspect that would have been better served with more time.
The result is a film that feels very slight and spends so much time trying to show everything that the filmmakers encountered in their travels that it fails to pose even 1 solid point of view through the entirety of the film. It’s filled with interesting people and shows some fun ways to achieve Hygge, but never does anything to help explain the phenomenon, which was the main reason behind starting the documentary in the first place. The meandering storyline will likely have the audience’s attention meandering at times as well, but perhaps that’s how they will find their own Hygge in the end.
- Genre: documentary
- Release Date: 1/09/2019