Is Netflix’s A Day and a Half Based on a True Story?

Netflix’s ‘A Day and a Half’ (also known as ‘En Dag och en Halv’) is a Swedish-language action thriller film directed by Fares Fares. It follows Artan, a desperate man who enters a medical center armed and takes his estranged ex-wife Louise hostage. The movie explores Artan’s quest to reunite with his daughter as he forces Louise to reveal the latter’s location. Given the high-stakes and gripping premise of the movie, driven by a strong emotional core, viewers must wonder about its inspiration. If you are looking for answers about whether ‘A Day and a Half’ is based on real incidents or a true story, here is everything you need to know!

Is A Day and a Half a True Story?

‘A Day and a Half’ is partially based on a true story. The film’s story is inspired by a true event that took place in Sweden. The incident was adapted into a screenplay by director Fares Fares, who makes his feature film directorial debut with the movie. Fares is primarily known for his work as an actor, having appeared in projects such as ‘The Wheel of Time,’ ‘Chernobyl,’ and ‘Westworld.’ Fares co-wrote the screenplay for ‘A Day and a Half’ with writer Peter Smirnakos. Smirnakos is primarily a journalist and makes his feature film screenwriting debut with the movie.

The film’s story follows Artan, an armed man who breaks into a medical center and kidnaps his ex-wife, Louise. He forces Louise to reveal the location of their daughter. As a result, Artan and Louise, accompanied by a policeman, Lukas, set off on an emotional and tense road trip across the Swedish countryside so that Artan can reunite with his daughter. The film’s basic premise is reportedly inspired by a real incident, which director Fares Fares read about in an article published around 2008-2009. Fares revealed that the article was extremely short, but it made him curious about the emotional reasons behind the actions of those involved in the hostage situation.

In an interview with Vogue Scandinavia published in the magazine’s Aug-Sept 2023 issue, Fares opened up about the film’s inspiration. “It was about a man who entered a doctor’s office with a pistol and tried to force his ex-wife to tell them where she had their child. And the police come and well… It was just a couple of lines, very short, but I saw a love story,” Fares stated. In a separate interview, Fares revealed that the real-life incident made him curious about what kind of people those involved were. He became curious about what drives someone to make a desperate move to find out where his child is while jeopardizing the safety of another human being. As a result, Fares wanted to explore their stories in greater depth through a feature film.

From the director’s words, it is evident that a real incident inspired the movie. However, the film’s narrative itself is fictional, barring the basic premise. Instead, the film is a character study that explores an ex-couple’s troubled and strained relationship while the father attempts to reunite with his daughter. As a result, the film builds a realistic and emotionally resonant portrayal of circumstances that drive individuals to take extreme actions. Ultimately, ‘A Day and a Half’ is only inspired by a real incident, while the narrative and characters remain mostly fictional. It is an emotionally riveting tale of a father’s love for his daughter contrasted by the former’s questionable actions, resulting in a nuanced and intricate character study.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s A Day and a Half Filmed?