As my headline states this was a big disappointment (at first, read on). Not because of its acting, or production value and not because of its way of telling the story. All done very well, which is why I give it a pretty solid score. But simply because of the story it chooses to tell.
Dirch Passer was a giant amongst midgets. He had a unique talent shining above almost anyone he ever shared the limelight with. Seldom do we see this and as few states elsewhere; he is the greatest comic ever produced by Denmark and to this day one cannot help but feel his magic when watching him. Even in the poorer movies, of which there are many, Dirch somehow radiates through them all. I salute him, and I was hoping to bask in his magic once more when watching "A Funny Man (2011)". I wasn't that lucky.
It is not the kind of movie that leaves your mind, it sticks and pricks... and grows.
The movie surprisingly focused solely on his stage career and not at all on his movie career, which is impressive by any standards (averaging more than 3 movies a year). And in doing so, I suppose we must accept that most of his life is left out – like his partnership with another great Dane (Ove Sprogøe). It was a shame not to tell his story more broadly, as many of us became fans from his persona on the silver screens rather than from the backseats of the theaters.
I was also surprised to how much Kjeld Petersen got of the screen time. Until this movie I did not realize his importance in Dirch's life, and I get the feeling that the movie overdid his importance a bit.
Ultimately, it chose not tell the story of Dirch Passer's life, but rather his struggles in life (where Petersen perhaps was an extraordinary catalyst).
Really, the movie showed us a drunk, a womanizer, a weakling... even a coward and I assume all of these traits are flip-sides from an extraordinary life constantly on the edge. The movie did to a lesser degree show us his good sides, and not much of the genius we all know and love. I resent this and it opted me to firstly dislike it in great roar.
But upon contemplation, I digress by saying that perhaps this was actually okay. His genius is still there for us all to enjoy, however the darker side less so. And the movie did give me a closer and much appreciated look into this kind giant's soul.... so, in the end I still say that it did not give me what I was hoping for, but perhaps it truly gave me what I needed.