• 'My Different Ways' (Distributor)Source: Distributor
Vitus is a twenty-something stuck in a rut, and he thinks a woman in a lobster costume is his only way out.
By
Anthony Morris

4 Nov 2021 - 9:09 AM  UPDATED 4 Nov 2021 - 9:10 AM

“Emma, before I met you I was in a strange place in my life”.

Vitus (Mads Reuther) is twenty-seven years old and his life is going nowhere. He’s worked in the same bar for the last four years (“that wasn’t about to change”). His girlfriend Sara (Mette Gregersen) is perfect in many ways – sweet, wise, beautiful – but he can’t quite figure out what she sees in him. Maybe they’re at different stages in their life; maybe he’s just not comfortable with who he is.

He’s largely estranged from his father; his mother is out of the picture. His best friend is his cousin William (Emil Blak Olsen), who drags him along to a costume party where he doesn’t know anyone. It’s there he meets Emma (Kristine Kujath Thorp), and his whole life changes. Which is a problem, because his life already changed earlier that day when Sara told him she’s pregnant.

How far would you go to get your life out of a rut? Danish-language series My Different Ways is part love story, part character study, and all about a guy who’s stumbled into a situation he can’t quite handle. He doesn’t want to go on like he has been, but while he wasn’t paying attention a life he doesn’t really want has formed around him, and breaking free isn’t going to be easy.

It doesn’t help that Vitus himself isn’t always the most likable character. He’s never purposely cruel, but his desire to break free doesn’t always lead to him exercising the best judgment. Starting up a new relationship when you’re not fully out of your old one is one thing; cheating (even just emotionally) on your pregnant girlfriend of many years just because you have chemistry with someone new is something else.

But this isn’t a story about logic and rational choices. Titus is swept away by something he’s never known before – as he says in the narration (which he delivers to Emma), “I never really felt anything before I met you”. And he’s not a static individual. He makes mistakes, he wants one thing then changes his mind, at times he doesn’t even know what he really wants but he just has to keep muddling through.

When Sara tells Vitus she’s pregnant, it’s clear the two are coming at it from very different angles. When he’s not excited, she shuts down. She’s got a class to take, he’s asking how getting an abortion would work; it’s a train wreck, and neither of them seem willing to come out and say what they feel.

Going to the costume party that night is more an act of inertia than anything else. He said he’d go, so here he is; the fact he hasn’t bothered to dress up reveals more about who he is than any costume. Emma, on the other hand, is dressed up as a lobster. She’s also drunk, is hanging out in the bath, throws up in the toilet two minutes after Vitus walks in, and then tells him his name sounds like a cleaning product. She’s everything Sara isn’t, and the connection between them is immediate. They spend the night talking; by the morning Vitus knows his life is never going to be the same.

Vitus and Emma are opposites that attract; she’s forceful and energetic, he’s laid back but receptive. It’s the chemistry between Reuther and Thorp that fires up their scenes together, providing the spark that will drive this seven-part series. All the pieces are in place for a thrilling look at the exhilaration of young love… if only Vitus wasn’t about to be a father with somebody else.

We’re all used to rom-coms built around a ticking time-bomb of a secret. When Vitus doesn’t tell Emma about Sara, it’s easy to think the course of the story is set, even if getting there is going to be more than half the fun. But by the end of the first episode, we know that Emma is keeping a secret of her own, which puts a far more thoughtful spin on this young romance.

What starts out as a story about honesty shifts into a story about maturity, about accepting each other and who you really are. Being open is more than just talking about yourself; if this new couple is going to make it work, they’re going to have to find a connection that goes deeper than their different ways.

 

My Different Ways is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

 

 

Follow the author here: Twitter @morrbeat

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