Finland is known for its sisu. Guts.

This spirit enables us to endure dark times and rise again.

But sometimes we need a little help.


There’s one man in the Finnish history who’s ignited the spirit of major companies, small companies, individuals who have dared to open one of his books.

His name is Jari Sarasvuo.

When Finland crawled through the depression of the early ‘90s, Sarasvuo was often introduced to the company conference room, where the staff would listen to his sermons, and he turned the depressed, skeptics and non-believers to believers.

To believers that they can do their jobs better than they ever thought they will.

Mikko Nousiainen plays Jari Sarasvuo. Picture: Optipari Oy


Sarasvuo himself had been introduced to the golden age of self-help material that the Americans were producing on vinyl, C cassette tapes and, of course, books. He adapted their methods to the Finnish mindset. And made a lot of money from it.

Under the command of director Tuukka Temonen, Sarasvuo’s controversial character is brought to the big screen in Valmentaja (Trainer).

Temonen successfully portrays Sarasvuo’s (played by Mikko Nousiainen) life through powerful images, colors and music. While yours truly has had the privilege to attend one of Sarasvuo’s lectures, he can testify that Nousiainen does an incredible job in vivifying the man.

Temonen, who’s first full-length feature was in 2016 with Teit meistä kauniin—a story of the creation one of the most famous Finnish punk bands Apulanta—is one of the most powerful Finnish directors of period pieces.

Read also:  'Teit meistä kauniin' Film Review: One Of the Best Finnish Films To Come Out This Year and Beyond

In Valmentaja (written by Heini Heikkilä), Temonen servers Heini Heikkilä’s script to the viewer with compact dialogue and scenes aided by beautiful cinematography.

Another strong point of the film is its humor. It’s snappy. A clever bon mot carries well until it’s time for another chuckle.

While many Finnish films lack English subtitles, Temonen told Finland Today that the film will be available in English subtitles throughout the country.

Valmentaja provides a different look into the life of one of the most inspiring characters to come out in the past three decades.

Moreover, it’s great to leave the comfort of the cinema inspired, ready to take on the challenge of the next day.

A rare treat in the Finnish movie world these days.

‘Valmentaja’ in cinemas now.