Winner, World Cinema Directing Award (Dramatic), Sundance Film Festival. Winner, Best Film, Off Plus Camera Film Festival, Krakow.

Danish director Mads Matthiesen’s feature expansion of his much-lauded 2007 short film, Dennis, recounts a gentle giant’s struggle to overcome crippling shyness and take hold of his life.

Dennis (Kim Kold) is a mountain of tattooed muscle, a 38-year-old professional bodybuilder with a gruff face and a timid heart. He’s also got a controlling mother, Ingrid (Elsebeth Steentoft), a needy, suffocating nag who treats him like a child. Lying to his mother about his destination, Dennis travels to Thailand, setting out in search of romance. Drawn to the only place he feels at ease, Dennis wanders into a local gym where he begins a hesitant flirtation with Toi (Lamaiporn Sangmanee Hougaard), the widowed owner. Back home, he begins quietly making plans to bring Toi over. But when he tells his mother the truth about his absence, bitter reproach, spitefulness and emotional blackmail follow.

The contrast between Dennis’ formidable physical presence and his withdrawn manner is nicely played by Kold. Seeing him so intimidated by his tiny, frail mother is both funny and moving. Teddy Bear is not the most substantial film, but it has a restrained charm and an emotional payoff in keeping with its prevailing understatement.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter