Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Not to be confused with the awful 1988 Chris Columbus picture of the same name, the Swedish-language comedy-drama Heartbreak Hotel gently explores the nuances and gradations in the blossoming friendship between two women. The film opens with a bitter, ugly and comically vulgar argument between gynecologist Elisabeth (Helena Bergstrom) and parking attendant Gudrun (Maria Lundkvist), who meet and immediately engage in a nasty dispute in a parking lot while Elisabeth is en route to her son's wedding. Such is their one and only interaction, until Gudrun experiences severe lower stomach pain and, ironically, winds up on the examination table at Elisabeth's office. The women quickly find that they have a great deal in common - specifically, both are recent divorcees and single parents. In time, a fast bond develops between them, and they become inseparable friends. Elisabeth enables Gudrun to open up to the outside world, carting her to the titular dance club and enabling her to have fun for the first time in years. But when Gudrun's ex-husband Ake (Claes Mansson) turns up and espouses a desire to reunite with his wife - kindling jealousy in Elisabeth - and Elisabeth's ex-husband Henrik (Johan Rabaeus) also seeks reconciliation with his former wife, it threatens to move the friendship onto decidedly shaky ground.