When watching the Danish film Teddy Bear, the acting seems so natural you may suspect that you aren't watching professionals at all. That's because director Mads Matthiesen chose to cast non-performers in his debut work. The hero of the film, Dennis (who may be likened to a great big teddy bear) is played by Kim Kold, who has only taken on bit parts. This includes the 2007 film, Dennis which the film is based on. For this reason, the story comes off as incredibly authentic. It's not difficult to empathize with the introverted mommy's boy, even if he's massive.
Teddy Bear centers on a devoted body builder who at 38, lives with his mother and struggles to develop a social life. Yet it's clear from the film's clever opening that he isn't very good at dating. He decides to travel to Thailand in the hopes of meeting a nice girl. Of course, it's difficult to distinguish girlfriend material from those that are desperately selling themselves to survive.
Dennis's search for companionship is heartbreaking, as is his attempt to escape the clutches of his mother's influence. Matthiesen direction wonderfully captures the witty, comedic, and gloomy story (which he co-wrote with Martin Zandvilet). Shown as part of the New Directors/New Films showcase at the Museum of Modern Art in NY, Teddy Bear is a marvelously candid foray into themes rarely explored on film.The film won the World Cinema Directing Award, for Dramatic films at Sundance Film Festival this year and will likely go on to collect further accolades.