An enemies-to-lovers opposites-attract workplace romance, set at a Swedish publishing company, between a stern married consultant and a young carefree IT technician. The unlikely pair assign each other playful dares that question societal norms in a flirtatious game leading to increasingly risky unintended consequences.
Love & Anarchy is as much of a flirtatious, spontaneous, surprisingly sweet adventure as the trailer had me expecting. It’s a show that often reminded me of Younger, with its publishing house drama in a time when there’s pressure to go digital, work with influencers, and reluctantly demand more common decency from your long-standing authors whose prolific writing no longer means their questionable actions will be overlooked by the public. Also represented at the Lund and Lagerveld offices: White men in positions of power. who And, of course, with the younger man, older woman.
In it’s flirtatiousness and unmistakable sweetness amidst the dares and emotional bond that forms between theme, and the way we find ourselves caught up in the publishing house’s need to overcome the drama coming at them from all angles, Love & Anarchy reminds me of Romance is a Bonus Book —a Korean show (also on Netflix) which is utterly delightful and hopeful and filled to the brim with a love for books and an older woman coming alive again by the strength of her spirit, and the unwavering support of a younger man who brings fun and kindness into her life in ways she didn’t even know she needed.
The adventure kicks off as Sofie begins her work as a consultant at Lund & Langerveld, a publishing house coming to terms with the age of digital. It’s a project that unfolds with many unexpected challenges, and a rather charming and exciting game of dares between Sofie and Max, whose got the most wonderful smile and eyes that show you his whole heart right there as he looks at her. It’s Björn Mosten’s acting debut, which seriously amazes me, because I found him to be the most striking actor among the cast. The story rebellion and personal growth and awakening, motherhood and marriage, commentary on society sees mental health, relationships, power dynamics in the workplace,
I loved the way the show is shot: in the smooth style of an indie film that Nordic filmmakers do so well. The buildings, the cityscapes, the set deisgn, in the spaces between characters. you can almost feel the crisp, fresh air of Sweden in autumn.. I really did not enjoy the costumes as much, but I think they’re meant to represent the people, a sense of authenticity that may have been lost if they were more coordinated costumey than they are. gives us a particular aesthetic. , There’s full-frontal nudity in two significant scenes where each character sort of announces their independence and their personal power over the situation, grabbing the hold back. The many moments where Sofie takes a brief escape from her life, almost desperately, to masturbate, using her phone and earphones is also the spark that ignites the game with Max.
We see less of the city than a show like Biohackers, for instance, where we’re presented with views of Berlin that made me want to visit those locations, to see them in person. But it’s definitely Swedish, and the places this story takes us are beautiful and memorable. I would love to read an interview with the set designers. Their work reminds me of the characters in Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, a beautiful, wondrous f/f romance about two women working in production design on a film set.
Sofie’s house is incredible. Everything from the light streaming in and the high ceilings that make you want to breathe in deeply, like there’s so much space to be alive in; to the colours, the rugs, to art, the furniture. It feels curated and personal and lived in, created over time in a life built together. I would move in in a heartbeat and feel like I’ve stepped into a life I’ll be loving for a long while. Max’s home is completely different. Where the people in Sofie’s home aren’t often shown in the same frame —whether for emotional reasons of just having so much room to occupy between them, it contrasts hugely with the lifestyle of Max and his housemates. His room, separated from the rest of the house by a curtain of sorts, also has wonderful light, where his plants are flourishing under his care. His housemates are close, physically and personally. His best-friend is possibly more, though maybe that’s just my wishful thinking, always lookin’ out for that bi energy. There’s a scene where they discuss the sharing of their finances and rent money, divided equally based on what they earn and can contribute and it’s actually majestic to me.
Sofie’s life is complicated: Her daughter is quite introverted, and isn;t really fitting in with socializing at school. Her father’s refusal to take the medicine he’s been prescribed for his (unnamed) mental health condition pulls her away from her daily life at all hours of the day or night. His presence in her life, their bond, her patience and love and his relationship with her daughter are portrayed with a gentle, careful, delicate moments without sugar-coating or romanticizing the reality of the impact on all of their lives. Her husband’s prejudice and controlling nature, his judgment and demands, misogyny and come to the surface as Sofie feels more free.
Written created and directed by a woman, Lisa Langseth, (insert her instagram pics here below)
Content warnings: Sofie’s husband makes cruel comments and blatant stigmatizing of mental illness. Infidelity. Drug use: A side character goes on an ayahuasca retreat. A group of people are unknowingly drugged, with marijuana in their food. A side character is placed under involuntary psychiatric hold.
If you liked Love & Anarchy…
Both of the below are shows that feature an ‘age-gap’ romance between an older women who is rebuilding her life and a younger man, and both shows revolve around the many adventures of working at a book publishing house.
Romance is a Bonus Book
And a very important update…. (@netflix make him canonically bi this season!!!!)
Love & Anarchy returns for a second season in 2022 which means WE GET MORE OF BJÖRN MOSTEN!!! pic.twitter.com/a6kIuzvPv8— Netflix Nordic (@NetflixNordic) March 12, 2021