I was having a lot of trouble deciding which of the two women in this film I liked better, the delicate, pale Aimee or the tan, more working-class appearing Simone. Such a dilemma--and one that confronts and confounds protagonist Alex (Nikolaj Lie Kaas). Turns out that it doesn't matter.
Yes, trickery--as Danish film maker Christoffer Boe warns us up front with his floating cigarette and magician's hands--is of the essence in this romantic fantasy. What is played with is reality, which of course is what film makers do.
For those of you who haven't seen the movie, I recommend that you stop reading here because what follows will likely spoil the movie for you. For those of you who have seen the movie, you might want to see it twice and then read what I have to say.
One thing about movies like this is that if you get the "key"--that is, the director's rationale for the way he plays with reality, you more or less get the movie. That's fine and can be enjoyable. If you don't, the movie can be a bit disconcerting and even exasperating.
The key here is to realize that it is Aimee's husband August, the novelist, who is the puppeteer. As Vladimir Nabokov liked to remind us, it is the essence of the novelist's art to manipulate the strings. The fact that this story is experienced from Alex's point of view inclines us to look for the key to understanding the film from his point of view. That is the error. Although Alex's persona dominates the film, at the center of the story is August. This is his fantasy and Alex is really just a prop in that fantasy, unable to understand what is happening to him. Indeed Alex--a charming and attractive young man with advanced pick-up skills--is a "gift" from August to his beloved Aimee. It may seem strange to some people that some men so love their wives that they want to give them something that they as the husband never can--that is, an affair with the perfect stranger.
The reality of Alex's existence comes from August's pen. In the scenes where Alex finds that his apartment has disappeared, that people don't know him (even his father doesn't know him), that Aimee/Simone think they are seeing him for the first time, the logic is this: what has happened before has been erased and rewritten, that is, reconstructed. Only poor Alex doesn't know since he is just a character in the story.
This reminds me a bit of Vanilla Sky (2001) and Abre los ojos (1997) in which the central character is a protagonist in a larger reality controlled by a software program. Here the control is in the hands of the novelist. Note well who gets the girl as the film ends: the guy who wrote the story, the guy who arranged to be giving lectures so that his wife could meet Alex and spend some time with him. Remember too in the scene where August comes back to the hotel room a bit too soon while Aimee is in the shower, and discovers tell-tale signs of Alex's presence. What does he do? He quickly leaves and returns a few minutes later after she has had time to straighten up.
In the final analysis, a patriarchal view of love in inexorably wrapped up in control. The patriarchal lover (the husband, August) wants to control his beloved. In this stylish and attractive fantasy, he even controls her reality.