Set in the final years of World War II the Swedish film All Things Fair is set up as if it is about an affair between a woman teacher and a teenage boy student. And at first that is the focus but it eventually becomes a story about the boy's trouble and his family.
Stig (Johan Widerberg) is the new boy in school. He's popular and attractive and he catches the eye of one of the younger good looking teachers Viola (Marika Lagercrantz). They begin an affair. She is married to a wool stockings salesman who is an alcoholic.
In time the film takes an interesting twist where the woman's husband becomes a sort of father figure to the boy. But it isn't the husband who causes the relationship to go sour – it's the fact that the boy is coming-of-age and eventually must move on.
The film is directed by Bo Widerberg who made a name for himself in the late 1960's with the huge hit Elvira Madigan. This film is good but nowhere as effective or beautiful as that one. From a purely marketing standpoint the film doesn't deliver the sex in the way it promises. And even though the acting is very good and there are some very well directed individual scenes the entire thing does not hold together too well. Scenes come and go too fast, characters and situations are never fully developed and nothing takes any dramatic hold.
The best scenes are between Stig and his mother especially when they contend with news about Stig's brother who has gone off to fight in the war. And the scenes between Stig and his lover's husband (Tomas von Brömssen) which resonates in a realistic way. This could be because the boy playing Stig is the director's son.
The film is 132 minutes long but it seems as though it was made to be 4 hours long and had to be cut down.
The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and looks very good. The DVD has been enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The film is set in World War II so the color stock used tones down the color a bit and the image has a grainy quality.
Audio is in Swedish 2.0 stereo and has a few good scenes with classical music that sound very good.
There are actor and director filmographies and linear notes by Wheeler Winston Dixon.
All Things Fair is a fair film. Good performances and in theory a good story but it doesn't hold together well enough to get the audiences empathy. The DVD is done by the Home Vision Entertainment and looks very good.