'Thelma' Opening Scene Hints At The Unsettling Tone Of Joachim Trier's Coming Of Age Thriller

In Joachim Trier's chilling, slow-burn coming-of-age thriller Thelma, a young woman's emotions begin to manifest themselves in supernatural ways. It's an eerie, effective film that burns itself into your mind and lingers long after the credits have rolled. Now the Thelma opening scene has appeared online to give you a better idea of the film's unsettling tone.

In ThelmaEili Harboe plays the eponymous character, a young woman who leaves home for university. Once there, Thelma finds herself attracted to another young woman (Kaya Wilkins), an attraction that seems to conflict with her stringent religious upbringing. The emotional angst Thelma experiences begins to manifest itself in unexpected, often supernatural ways. The opening scene for the film is now available to watch below.

Thelma opening scene

This opening scene doesn't give much away, thankfully, and merely hints at the unsettling nature of the film to come. In the clip, we see a young Thelma (Grethe Eltervåg) hunting with her father (Henrik Rafaelsen), who clearly has other things on his mind. The strained relationship between Thelma and her father plays a very big part in the film, particularly near Thelma's disturbing conclusion. To say more would give too much away. Here's the film's official synopsis.

Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo.  While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure.  Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma's powerful attraction.  As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja – feelings she doesn't dare acknowledge, even to herself – while at the same time experiencing even more extreme seizures.  As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers.

While Thelma is initially subtle in its tone, it eventually reveals itself to be a horror movie – though not the typical jump-scare laden horror most American audiences are used to. In his review for /Film, Jacob Hall said:

Thelma is ultimately a horror movie, albeit one that values quiet dread over more overt terror. The depiction of Thelma's powers, and of her low-key retribution against those who want to stifle and destroy her, is quiet and weird and often painful. The people in Thelma's life, from her new girlfriend to her well-meaning parents, are painted with a gentle brush. The film refuses to demonize any side and even finds sympathy for those who find Thelma wicked. Is Thelma's odd nature, her powers and her sexuality, something that society must accommodate or something that can damage family units as we know them? The fact that I found Thelma's journey cathartic and powerful says a lot about me. I'm sure others will disagree. To the film's credit, there is never any doubt that her parents do not care about her...but what happens when a supposedly loving parent refuses to let a child find sexual and emotional fulfillment?

Thelma is now playing in select theaters.