Love and Anarchy (2020): What Happens When Your Coworker Catches You Getting-off in the Office?


Love and Anarchy (2020) is a Sweden TV show recently streaming on Netflix. I recommend it for how different it is compare to other shows about female midlife crisis. Although the production value is not very high and some of the cinematography choices are a little confusing, it still deserves a spot on your watch list.

(Love and Anarchy)

"How It All Began"

This show is about breaking the rules. The main character, Sofie (Ida Engvoll), is a career-driven consultant and married mother of two. She gets assigned to help an old publishing house with its modernization and meets a young, handsome temp, Max. The thing about Sofie is that she releases her stress through a quick masturbation every morning. However, in the first episode, her morning routine is interrupted. As perfect as her life is, her way of getting-off is well-planned yet depressing but is still gets interrupted. This beginning caught my eyes immediately. I was intrigued and wanting to see how her life will change. 

The temp at her new job, Max (Björn Mosten), catches her completing her "morning routine" in her office while working late and took a picture of her doing it. The next morning he threatens Sofie with the picture and has lunch with her. Max questions Sofie why does she do it, but she does not answer. As our main character, Max can't be an unlikeable guy, so he gives his phone to Sofie so she can delete the picture. Sofie, the rule-following career woman, takes the phone and leaves. Now she has the upper hand and is going to tell Max what to do. And that is our first episode, "How It All Began." 

As the story goes, Sofie and Max start the game of challenge. The game begins with Sofie demanding Max to tell her to do something challenging to have her lipstick back. Max gets it right away. Sofie's initiation and spontaneity answer Max's question during lunch: she masturbates in the office because she does not really want to be a rule follower.

(Love and Anarchy)

The Consequences of Breaking the Rules

The fun and flirty challenges became Sofie, and Max's secrets and changed their lives. Sometimes it is Max telling Sofie to yell at someone before she gets off work, walk backward for an entire day, or dress like a pop star from the 2000s. Sometimes it is Sofie telling Max to create a disturbance at the book fair. These childish challenges are mostly fun, but consequences are coming with them. Sofie's husband is not pleased when seeing her walking backward; the publishing company was also in trouble after Max put weed in his coworker's dessert before an important event. However, these consequences do not stop Sofie, and Max keep playing their silly little game. Sofie goes backing being her true, spontaneous self while doing these challenges. Max and Sofie fall for each other as they grow closer.

(Love and Anarchy)

The Consequences of Following the Rules

There are also consequences of following the rules. In the last episode, spoil alert, Sofie has to break off with her husband because she cannot bear the idea of being just a wife and a mother for the rest of her life, especially the part where her husband only accepts the normal side of her. Ever since she found her true self through doing the challenges, it is difficult for her to lose the spirit again.

Sofie did not stick to her free spirit at first. When her husband has a huge problem with her rebellious father and her acting abnormal, Sofie backed down. She surrenders herself to her husband and her family. She even breaks up with Max, which causes him to have a massive panic attack. But when her husband speaks foul of her father in front of his friends and her, Sofie returns to her true self and starts to act crazy to rebel. 

Although this show is not mainly about Max's life, he also has his own personal baggage. Growing up, his mother is always mean and strict to him, like he can not do anything that's up to her standard. (That is also where his mommy issue comes from, which led him to be attracted to women a lot older than him.) Sofie challenges Max to stand up for himself when he visits his mother, which he did. He gets naked in front of everyone for a formal group picture and leaves.

(Love and Anarchy)

Female Midlife Crisis

Love and Anarchy might not be the best show on earth, but it makes the female midlife crisis so realistic yet fun to watch is why I recommend it. The interesting thing about Western TV shows that discuss female midlife crisis is that the main character is usually successful in almost every aspect. Some of the appropriate examples are Fleabag (2016), Doctor Foster: A Woman Scorned (2015), and Santa Clarita Diet (2017), which are all about women stranded in balancing career and family. These shows spend lots of time on how much the main characters care about their families, marriages, and relationships with other people. On the other hand, love and Anarchy are more focused on Sofie and the changes she goes through. Although it is still a plot-driven show, the angle it takes and the choices Sofie makes are refreshing. 

Ok, that's all I have to say about Love and Anarchy (2020). Go watch it if you want.

(Love and Anarchy)

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