Nørby plays a single, older mother of Brian, an autistic 20-year-old. One night, Brian comes home late with mud on his shoes, and there is news the next morning that a young woman was murdered in the nearby city park. The assumption is obvious from the start, for both the mother and the audience… Brian seems an obvious suspect, but is unable to defend his actions because of his mental disability. The mother hides his shoes and clothes, and gives her son an alibi for police questioning, but there is always the lingering doubt that nags her, despite her best intentions.
Part of the problem is that A Place Nearby is slow… especially since it just seems to be heading to an inevitable conclusion right from the start. The other problem is the actor who plays Brian. He seemed very consciously (to me, at least) to be “acting!”. His style just made me think how much better Leonardo DiCaprio was playing a similar character in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?. But Ghita Nørby redeems the film. Her excellent performance as the distraught mother is the main reason to see this movie.