The Swedish Theory of Love (2015) Review

“Internationally Sweden is seen as a perfect society, a raw model and a symbol of the highest achievements of human progress. The Swedish Theory of Love digs into the true nature of Swedish lifestyle, explores the existential black holes of a society that has created the most autonomous people in the world”.  Written by Fasad

Erik Gandini, film director, explores the downside of the “Swedish model” based on individuality and independence. He’s looking into the consequences of the 70s Swedish manifesto which reads: “all authentic human relationships have to be based on the fundamental independence between people“, that love can exist only if people are not dependant on one another. After 40 years since the model started being executed Gandini presents a staggering data which basically speaks for itself: 40% of Swedes lives alone, which is the highest rate in the world. Even though the high life standard (economy wise) is an everyday reality in Sweden, the suicide rate is also among the highest on our planet and sperm banks are blooming (people don’t need nor want others around them). Nearly half of the country’s population admits to feeling lonely. The system is clearly self-sabotaging. From one angle social security is all about taking care of people while shifting the care-giver onto an institution apparently turns people into numb, empathy-lacking, bored creatures.

Sweden has always been a country brave enough to pursue all sorts of social experiments and take them to the extreme. It’s the country where there is an ongoing gender-free kindergarten: no one is neither boy nor girl, they have gender non threatening names and no specific social role or even clothes are assigned. Swedes are now waiting patiently to examine these children in 20 years.


Even though the director of the movie proved that he’s an asshole during the Q & A just insulting everybody around, he managed to raise a series of important questions in this movie. People should, in fact, question everything – that’s where progress begins. Gandini was lucky enough to convince Zygmunt Bauman, a famous sociologist, to take part in this project as a guest expert. Bauman said (I’m paraphrasing) that human being needs the problem-solving existence in order to be happy. Having everything given strips you down from socializing, inventing, discussing. “At the end of independence, there is emptiness”. (Zygmunt Bauman)

The investigation on what the autonomy of Swedes means now is contradicted with one of the poorest regions in the world, Ethiopia. It turns out that what they lack economically, they make up in empathy and the sense of community where no one is left out alone. Due to the fact, nobody can have it all, one must answer the question: is the material well being more important than the spiritual one? And this is what the viewers are left with after the lecture of this film.

Isn’t it ironic that the more people live on this planet, more lonely they become? Experimenting with society proves only that there is always a room for a change. Maybe this movie will prevent other countries and societies from following Sweden’s footsteps and help with perceiving the Scandinavian miracle for what it really is.

© 2018 Anna Jozwiak. All rights reserved.

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