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The Inheritance (2003)
"Arven" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  9 July 2004 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,969 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 29 user | 34 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

A young man is torn between his individual hopes and his sense of duty when his father dies and he is expected to take over the family industry.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Christoffer
...
Maria
Ghita Nørby ...
Annelise
Karina Skands ...
Benedikte
...
Ulrik
Peter Steen ...
Niels
Diana Axelsen ...
Annika
...
Holger Andersen
Ulf Pilgaard ...
Aksel
Dick Kaysø ...
Jens Mønsted
Sarah Juel Werner ...
Marie-Louise
Linda Myrberg ...
Ung skuespillerinde (Young actress)
Lucy Andoraison Hansen ...
Mira
Eric Viala ...
Frederic Rousseau
Valerie Quent ...
Frederic Rousseaus kone (Frederic Rousseau's wife)
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Storyline

A young Danish man, Christoffer, lives a life of joy and happiness with his wife Maria in Stockholm. When his father dies his mother insists that Christoffer take over management of the family industry which is in danger of bankruptcy. He is torn between his chosen life and his sense of duty to his family and its past. When he chooses to step in as manager his family life and self-respect languish. Written by Peter Brandt Nielsen

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

9 July 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Inheritance  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Filmfest Hamburg)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The entire movie was shot with two-camera technique. According to the director this makes it easier to use actor improvisation. Most scenes are also shot with long focal lens. Apart from the visual effect actors did not know where the cameras were. See more »

Goofs

In some scenes you can clearly spot that they have been filmed in Malmö, and not in Stockholm where they supposedly take place. For instance are the public transport buses not in "Stockholm" colours and in another scene there is a phone number visible on a shop window, which has the Malmö prefix. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Det store lærred: Arven (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An absorbing drama of old wealth and modern capitalism
26 March 2007 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

A well-to-do businessman arrives in Stockholm. On the surface he is self assured and in control, yet underneath he is a man experiencing a desperate emotional and spiritual crisis that threatens to take control of his life. Similar in theme to Laurent Cantet's Time Out, Danish director Per Fly's The Inheritance is a penetrating look at the humane cost of serving a soulless corporation out of duty and obligation. The second in a trilogy that deals with Danish life from different social levels, it is an absorbing drama of old wealth and modern capitalism that takes us into the soul of Christoffer (Ulrich Thomsen), the wealthy son of a prominent steel magnate. Reserved, almost reticent, Christoffer hides his feelings like a surprise birthday present, but when they are unwrapped they also unravel.

In a flashback to five years ago, we learn that he is a successful restaurateur in Sweden, happily married to Maria (Lisa Werlinder), a Shakespearean actress who is offered a contract for one year at the Royal Dramatic Theater. Christoffer's life is turned upside down, however, when he learns that his father Aksel (Ulf Pilgaard), the owner of the Borch-Muller steel mill, has committed suicide after concealing the company's substantial debt. Like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, he is then forced to choose between his sense of loyalty to his family and his personal freedom when his imperious mother Annelise (Ghita Norby), showing no confidence in his brother-in-law Ulrik (Lars Brygmann), insists that he take over the leadership of the steelworks.

Maria, unwilling to give up her career, pleads with him to refuse to lead the company, now almost bankrupt. Christoffer is hesitant and first agrees with his wife, but when he comes face to face with the company's employees, many of whom would have to be laid off, he capitulates and agrees to assume his father's position. It is a turning point in his life. Though it never becomes clear where the truth lies, Christoffer hears from his associate Niels (Peter Steen) that Ulrik is spreading rumors to undermine the company's position with the bank. He is forced to fire Ulrik, precipitating a crisis with his sister Benedikte (Karina Skands) who remains steadfast in his support and refuses to have anything further to do with her brother.

When Christoffer has to dismiss 200 workers until the company can get back on its feet, it begins to affect his personality. He refuses to talk about his work with Maria and becomes totally preoccupied with completing a merger with a prominent European steelworks company. Taken aback by the callousness apparently necessary to run the business, Maria is angered by her husband's reluctance to share his problems at work and by his mother, Annelise, who tells Christoffer not to talk about his emotions. If this sounds like an episode from "Dynasty", it would only be partially true. For the most part, the characters and their motivations are too nuanced and complex for it to be considered as soap opera, though unfortunately the film lapses into melodrama near the end.

The Inheritance can be viewed on several levels: as a testament to what the modern day corporation has become, a machine that inevitably gobbles up one's humanity; as the story of a selfless individual, willing to sacrifice his own happiness for his family's business; or as the sad tale of a man who is more comfortable being in a dependent relationship with his mother than in fully assuming the adult responsibilities of marriage and emotional independence. Regardless of your interpretation, The Inheritance succeeds as a compelling character study of a man who, in the process of making hard choices in the business world, loses the things in his life that are the most precious, including his self respect.


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