The Match Factory Girl

Watch The Match Factory Girl

  • NR
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 8 min
  • 7.5  (10,942)

The Match Factory Girl is a Finnish black comedy-drama film directed by Aki Kaurismäki, released in 1990. This film follows the life of a young working-class woman, Iris (Kati Outinen), who works at a match factory where she packs matches into boxes. Despite her mundane job, Iris is determined to find happiness and love, but her life is far from easy.

Iris lives with her parents, who are unemployed and alcoholic, and her abusive brother, who is also unemployed. She barely makes ends meet and is often forced to help her family financially, which leaves her with little money to enjoy life. She is constantly belittled by her family, especially her mother, who tells her that she's never going to find anyone who loves her.

One day, Iris meets a wealthy businessman, Aarne (Esko Nikkari), at a local bar. Aarne takes Iris to his apartment and they have sex. Iris becomes infatuated with Aarne and believes that he will be her ticket to a better life. She tries to pursue a relationship with him, but he quickly loses interest and ignores her calls.

Feeling heartbroken and humiliated, Iris decides to take matters into her own hands. She buys a dress, gets her hair done, and shows up at Aarne's office. She confronts him and demands that he give her money in exchange for having sex with her. Aarne obliges, but only gives her a small amount of money, which further humiliates her.

Frustrated and desperate, Iris decides to take revenge on the people who have made her life miserable. She poisons her abusive brother and her parents, killing them in their sleep. She then returns to Aarne's apartment and commits suicide.

The Match Factory Girl is a bleak and darkly humorous film, exploring themes such as poverty, loneliness, and desperation. Kati Outinen delivers a remarkable performance as Iris, capturing her character's despair and longing for a better life. Elina Salo is also noteworthy as Iris's mother, delivering a chilling portrayal of a woman who is emotionally and physically abusive towards her daughter.

The film's cinematography is strikingly minimalistic, with long takes and static shots that offer a sense of detachment from the characters and their surroundings. The use of music is also worth noting, as it creates a powerful contrast between the characters' bleak lives and the upbeat, nostalgic tunes that play throughout the film.

Overall, The Match Factory Girl is an outstanding film that offers a poignant and darkly humorous portrayal of a woman on the brink of despair. Aki Kaurismäki's direction and Kati Outinen's performance combine to create a hauntingly powerful film that lingers in the mind long after the credits roll.

The Match Factory Girl
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 8 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (10,942)