After the bizarre death of her brother, Johana Burwood must return home after four years to face her quirky family, including her estranged dad, her two competitive brothers and various significant others. The family is uncomfortable with each other at first, and their inner turmoil manifests itself in quarrels and outright fights. Johana is forced to face some secrets from her past when she runs into an old boyfriend who just can't seem to let go. It's only when tensions are at a breaking point that someone comes up with a brilliant idea that will send their departed brother off with incredible style. Written by
Sarah Hyland and Michael Weston also both play in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. See more »
[on giving Magnus a viking funeral]
Let's start right now, working together as a pack. What would Magnus want if it were one of us, huh?
He would want one of us to throw flaming arrows at him.
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Woefully frustrating for the first half, but the resolution makes up for most of it.
See You in Valhalla is a very frustrating movie. I can't say it's a bad movie, I can't say it's a good movie, but I can say with confidence that it is an exhausting watch. The plot of the movie makes things inherently dark: a brother kills himself so his two brothers, sister, and their significant others return to their dad's home to mourn his death and patch up old wounds. So kind of like The Big Chill except it's a family and they all hate each other.
Don't be fooled by the labelling - this is NOT a comedy. Sure there are a few chuckle-worthy moments here and there but the tone is so bleak and depressing for most of the runtime and it prevents any joke from gaining momentum. There's no lightheartedness in this movie. This is a character driven drama and for half of the movie you hate every character. Seriously. I had no idea who I was supposed to root for; it was just a bunch of people either yelling at each other or reciting painfully awkward dialogue. Seriously, the writing is horrendous in this film. I'm sure the filmmakers wanted the tension to be impactful but it just comes across as forced, cringeworthy, and borderline whiny.
Things change when more is revealed about certain characters, namely the sister Jo (played by Sarah Hyland). I won't spoil anything but you begin to relate to her once she opens up and things go uphill from there. I think the problem is that there are way too many characters. At one point I was like "wait, who am I watching on screen right now?" People come and go. Some only appear in like a scene, some appear in a couple and never show up again, and the worst part is that even these minor characters are insufferable. The movie really sucks during the moments where everyone's antagonizing one another; it's just uncomfortable and no one wants to see that. However occasionally there are sparks of something more, like a truly touching story hidden behind this abysmal dialogue. I know something beautiful is under there... buried under all that sh*t... Again, it's frustrating.
You can't blame any of these actors for what they were given. Sarah Hyland definitely has the potential to carry a movie but aside a few moments where she does show off her dramatic acting chops, her potential isn't given enough time to be realized. One standout performance was Steve Howey as Makewi. He was the funniest part about the movie. At first I thought he would be the really cliché open-minded hippie (that ended up being another character) but he's actually a lot smarter than he initially lets on and ends up being one of the deepest and most genuine characters. The role could have easily been bombed by another actor but Howey knocks it out of the park. I believed his character. That's more than I can say for half of the family. Peter also had funny moments but he was just Jo's date. Literally the only likable people are not part of the family.
So basically See You in Valhalla is a very depressing episode of Modern Family that is dragged out for 80 minutes. The family does grow on you eventually but by then it's too little too late. I have to give the movie props for handling this subject matter and making it somewhat effective in the end, and for that alone I give it a 5.5/10, rounded up because I'm nice like that. But I can't think of a single reason to watch this movie. If it's on TV one day and you want to revel in sadness and ice cream then sure give it a watch. You won't remember it being good, or bad. Just... agh. You get the picture.
Speaking of pictures, almost every character in this movie carries a picture with them at all times. It's weird.
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