An Almost Ordinary Story review

:. Director: Milos Petricic
:. Starring: Milica Zaric, Vuk Toskovic
:. Running Time: 1:20
:. Year: 2003
:. Country: Serbia


The Serbian romantic comedy An Almost Ordinary Story takes place in a modern, urban Belgrade whose embers of war and dictatorship have burned out, giving rise to a Phoenix of American pop culture and lifestyle.

This ordinary story is about two ordinary people, Vlada (Vuk Toskovic) and Irena (Milica Zaric), two twentysomethings who move in together after a few chance meetings in Belgrade. After three years together, life has turned into a predictable routine and both must decide if they're going to stick it out for the long run or not. Friends and family are quick to offer advice, and in the meantime Vlada's old flame returns from New York to offer temptation while a photographer piques Irena's interest.

Shot in entirely in Belgrade, the cinematography is top-notch, showing a modern, urban city in its bounce back from devastating wars and bombing. The script more than pays homage to the American romantic comedy genre; it prays at the altar. It's pure melodrama, ordinary really, spiced with some quick Serbian. And while what happens to these two lovebirds is not always exciting, this film's focus on ordinary city dwellers and not war or politics is a marked change from other films that have come from the region, like Underground, Cabaret Balkan or Wounds from Serbia and No Man's Land and Fuse from Bosnia.

But more often than not, it's American pop culture that plays a pivotal role here. From the half-eaten cheeseburger and fries from McDonald's strewn on the coffee table and the Simpsons on TV and more than one reference to When Harry Met Sally, American influence dominates the film and pop culture totally permeates people's lives. Their apartment looks like any Western apartment, full of cd's and posters and books, a computer and a big tv with lots of Ikea thrown in. Even references to war are not about what happened in the former Yugoslavia. When Vlada runs into Maria, he tells her that he tried to contact her after September 11 to make sure she was ok. And though it appears that she left shortly before or after the bombing of Belgrade, no reference is made to this period.

As for the acting, for a group of first time actors in front of the camera, everyone does a formidable job. A naturalness and energy exists that mingles well with the structure of the screenplay. Stefan Kapicic steals more than one moment with his charisma and both Zaric and Toskovic perfectly convey the angst any couple goes through.

Though the film often seems like a valentine to America, the allure of going across the ocean is not for everyone. Vlada turns down the opportunity to go to New York, opting to stay in Belgrade, where from the looks of it he has everything.

Though An Almost Ordinary Story may not be a masterpiece, it does convey and portray the longing of a nation to return to normalcy and the banalities of daily life we take for granted.

  Anji Milanovic

     Movie Reviews: 1998 - 2011
     Movie Reviews: 2012 - present

  .: AFI Fest
  .: Cannes Festival
  .: COL COA
  .: LA Film Festival
  .: LA Latino Festival
  .: more Festivals
  .: Cult Classic
  .: Foreign
  .: U.S. Underground
  .: Musical Films
  .: Controversial Films
  .: Silent Films
  .: Spaghetti Westerns
  .: Erotica
  .: Download Movies
  .: Movie Rentals
  .: Movie Trailer
| About Plume Noire | Contacts | Advertising | Submit for review | Help Wanted! | Privacy Policy | Questions/Comments |
| Work in Hollywood | Plume Noire en français [in French] |