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Reviews & Ratings for
A Second Chance More at IMDbPro »En chance til (original title)

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39 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Powerful drama

Author: reev0 from United Kingdom
15 October 2014

To say much about the plot of Suzanne Bier's film about parenthood would be to risk depriving it of its power - the less you know going in, the better. The film is a succession of well-timed punches to the gut, and the cast is good enough to make the characters' difficult choices understandable. Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau carries a lot of the weight of the film, but he's well-supported - May Andersen is impressive as Sanne in her first acting role, and Bier's previous collaborator Nikolaj Lie Kaas does well to avoid making his character a one-dimensional.

Not an easy watch by any means, and not an entertainment, but a very well-made and powerful social drama.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Dark Danish Morality Tale

Author: Tom Dooley from London, United Kingdom
15 August 2015

This is one of those films that is very hard to give a synopsis about without doing a major plot reveal. Suffice to say it is about the choices we can make when faced with the 'unthinkable'. It is about how we are able to not only blur the line between right and wrong but also move it completely whilst still, self deceivingly, believing that you are still the good guy.

It is about a married couple Anna and her policeman husband Andreas and how they deal with their own tragedy. This is from director Susanne Bier who brought us 'In a Better World' and 'After the wedding'. She has a keen eye for direction and uses dramatic timing to ramp up the tension but also perfectly timed plot reveals – and there are a fair few here.

It is superbly acted with a striking performance from Maria Bonnevie as the new mum and wife. This is a film that trades on the reveals and twists and as such may not be one to see over again; but it is still powerful enough to recommend and indeed warrant at least one good viewing.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Powerful and Heartbreaking Drama with a Moral Issue

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
19 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The police detective Andreas (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) is a family man married with the unstable Anna Thomsen (Maria Bonnevie) and they have a seven-week son called Alexander. Andreas' partner and best friend is detective Simon (Ulrich Thomsen), whose wife has left him with their son to live with a teacher of swimming classes. Simon misses his family and particularly his son. When they are called to investigate an argument of a couple in a residential building, they meet the well known drug dealer Tristan (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and his wife Sanne (May Andersen) in the apartment. Andreas notes that Sanne is hiding something in a wardrobe, and when he opens it, he finds their seven-week son Sofus dirty and hungry. Andreas calls the Social Service and after the exams, they realize that the baby is healthy; therefore they can not retain the child. During the night, Andreas wakes-up with Anna crying and he finds that Alexander is dead. He wants to call an ambulance, but Anna tells that she would commit suicide and Andreas decides to swap his son per Sofus. He breaks in Tristan's apartment and swaps the babies while his parents are sleeping completely stoned. When Tristan finds the dead baby, Sanne tells that he is not her son. But Tristan buries the baby in the woods and simulates that he was abducted in a playground. Tristan and Sanne are arrested and Andreas and Simon are responsible for interrogate them. Meanwhile, Anna jumps from a bridge into a river and commits suicide. When Andreas finds the corpse of Alexander, there is an autopsy and the doctor shows the result to Andreas that is deeply affected. What could be the findings?

"En chance til", a.k.a. "Second Chance", is a powerful and heartbreaking drama with a moral issue in another great film directed by Susanne Bier. The performances are top-notch and the film raises at least one point to think about. The main question is how far a father would go to protect his wife from a tragedy. The road to hell is paved of good intentions, and Andreas's intention is certainly the best for a desperate family man. But in the end, when he discovers what Anna has done to their son, reason returns to him. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Segunda Chance" ("Second Chance")

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

"Radically humane..."

Author: Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
26 July 2015

Danish screenwriter, producer and director Susanne Bier's fourteenth feature film which she co-wrote with Danish screenwriter and director Anders Thomas Jensen after their story, premiered in the Special Presentations section at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, was screened in the Official Selection section at the 62nd San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2014, was shot on locations in Denmark and is a Denmark-Sweden co-production which was produced by producer Sisse Graum Jørgensen. It tells the story about a police officer named Andreas Juhl.

Distinctly and subtly directed by Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated interchangeably from the main characters' viewpoints, draws an immediately gripping portrayal of a police case and the parallel lives of those involved. While notable for its atmospheric milieu depictions and reverent cinematography by cinematographer Michael Keith Snyman, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about Scandinavian values and conventional views on fatherhood and motherhood, depicts multiple perspicacious studies of character and contains a great and timely score by composer Johan Söderqvist.

This dramatically realistic and increasingly heartrending character piece which is set in Denmark in the 21st century and where trauma instigates heartfelt actions which surpasses moral boundaries and a father and husband is brutally confronted with circumstantial events which provokes intuitive reactions, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, rhythmic continuity, self-explanatory scenes of a human being named Sofus and the invaluable acting performances by Danish actors Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Norwegian actress Maria Bonnevie. A radically humane narrative feature.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A film with really good acting

Author: dakjets from Norway
25 July 2015

I think one of the main reasons this film really works is the strong performances from Nicolai Coaster-Waldau, Ulrich Thomsen and Maria Bonnevie. Nicolay Coaster-Waldau plays a husband and a father, Bonnivie his wife. The film give an example of how a "perfect life", suddenly can turn into a living nightmare. And how the wrong choices can be devastating for everyone involved. The couple really pull it off in this film. Without their strong presence and convincing characters, the film would not been as good as it actually is. They make it a strong and powerful drama. Othervise the story in the film is very simple, and I must admit, not the strongest and most interesting. It is too straight forward, with few surprises. But the actors make it worth Your while to watch it, and they manage to lift this drama. (Sorry about my English)

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Goosebumps all over

Author: Bantam
13 August 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you've seen Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau in Game of Thrones you haven't seen anything. As an actor this guy is, IMO, totally underrated. Also, Nikolaj Lie Kaas does a superb job.

The movie centers around two guys (played by the both before mentioned actors), both fathers of new-borns. One is a cop, the other a junkie.

I will not go into the details of the story, otherwise it might ruin the fun. But it revolves around those two toddlers, Alexander and Sofus. The story has some devious twists and turns and the conclusions is rather disturbing. However, the acting is, across the board, neigh perfect. The emotions and the desperation flow freely. I was rather impressed. I highly recommend a subbed version, since in this case a dubbing will ruin a lot. I tired it, but I liked the subbed version much more.

It is rather astonishing how the Scandinavian movie makers manage to forge such good movies, while others (I am not looking at anyone ;) ) just manage to produce part IV of the same stuff, being afraid of anything slightly new. Let's do another romantic comedy, why don't you?

Tired of SFX powered no-story junk? The next installment of a funny romance that has nothing to do with reality? Don't wanna see another superhero beating up hapless citizens?If you at least said one "yes", go watch this - NOW!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Cop swaps dead baby son for psycho's neglected one

Author: maurice yacowar from Canada
30 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Suzanne Bier's A Second Chance is an emotionally complex expansion of the buddy cop genre. Buried in the rich psychological texture of the four main characters remains the classic whodunit. Who killed baby Alexander?

Hero Andreas is a unique film cop because he's so open to his emotions, both as he caresses his lovely wife Anna and as he's dedicated instantly to the infants, the psychotic druggie's beshat waif as well as the cop's own helpless son. This cop dotes on babies. Andreas is a man strong enough to show his feelings, which of course prompts the irate Tristan to call him "faggot."

It's hard to recall another film hero, especially in the crime genre, who shows such tenderness to babies and women. This softness leads Andreas over the line into his own irrational action: swapping his dead son for the druggies' neglected one, to give that kid a second chance.

Andreas's motive is not entirely generous. Through that swap, his hysterical wife Anna would also get a second chance to be a parent, as he will as a father. Instead she gets a second chance to lose control. The new baby doesn't keep her from the suicide she threatened if Andreas were to call the ambulance to take away their Alexander, however dead.

At risk of sounding clinical, both Anna and Tristan's Sanne have forms of postpartum depression. Sanne's life is further complicated by Tristan's violence that forces her to neglect their son Sofus. Paradoxically, the downtrodden Sanne proves a better mother than the rich and classy Anna.

In a brief scene Anna's mother reveals an intense sunken rage at her husband's rejection of their daughter, presumably for marrying down to a cop. One central theme is the power of male authority and its maddening effect on women. With his remarkable sensitivity, though, Andreas experiences a grief and disorientation as profound as his wife's. Hence his plan to swap babies, fine for Sofus's second chance but an unwarranted cruelty to Sanne.

Simon, Andreas's partner in crime-fighting, is typically his opposite. The bad cop and the good cup switch roles. When Andreas is initially stable and ethical, Simon is a basket case, drunken and belligerent, living a bum's life since his wife left him, taking their son.

As Andreas goes to pieces Simon recovers his character, self-respect and discipline. He even tidies his flat. He deduces Andreas's secret and leads him to return Sofus to Sanne, confess his crime, take his punishment and start a new life, however smaller. The drunken Simon and maddened Andreas prove as hysterical as the women.

The happy ending completes the theme of justice and proper compassion. We share the busted Andreas's satisfaction when he glimpses a clearly rehabilitated, stable Sanne and meets the bright young Sofus. The once helpless infant has a hammer now and his mom is buying screws. Andreas had to abandon his plan and his career to give Sofus and Sanne a true second chance.

This buddy cop film is less about law and order than the pain of emotional commitment and vulnerability.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Picturesque Drama

Author: lornespry-72116 from Tohoku, Japan
14 May 2017

I think this is a very good film, but I can understand how it struck negative chords with kevjfarrell (see the above review). There is a pedestrian quality about the plot. In some places we can almost imagine the filming of a scene. Transitions are seamless, but they have a seemingly manufactured quality about them. Perhaps it is all a matter of a frame of mind. Perhaps I am tired of guns, noise, furious action and the hyperventilating in today's popular entertainment. So I just let myself go and became immersed in the drama.

I disagree with Mr Farrell in regards to the acting. Far from seeing it as sophomoric posturing for entry into film school, I found it natural, gripping and well-paced. In a word, realistic.

I have noted that photography has not been mentioned in the above reviews. The camera is very much a part of this film. The cinematography contains a full pallet of colour and texture with intriguing, grainless resolution and depth of field. Scenes shift between chromatic hues to almost monochrome where light and shadow replace contrasting colour. You are neither jarred nor bullied by these changes. There is a gentleness, which is complimentary to the subject.

The argument in the film is staged by gentleness vs violence, understanding and compassion vs reactive predilection. It is difficult to rate this film on a purely technical level. It could be rated less than my 8, and it could be rated more highly. I'll settle on 8 and just say that I am very glad I watched this film, and I hope to watch it again. I recommend the Danish version with subtitles.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Danish Cinema Wins Again

Author: johnwiltshireauthor from New Zealand
8 October 2016

I'm a huge fan of Danish films and of Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau. I'm slowly working my way through his movies (although I could have done without suffering The Gods of Egypt). The man can act. He's also got amazing screen presence, and it's both those things that saves this rather slow film and turns it from interesting to mesmerising. It raises interesting moral dilemmas as well, makes you question "what would I do?". I did not see some of the twists coming, so that added to the enjoyment. If you're very into American movies, or like a lot of action in your films then this probably isn't for you. But if you enjoy superb acting, tense and occasionally heart-rending storytelling then I think you'd enjoy this. It's a must for NC-W fans.

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When the GOOD is as bad as the BAD it become.

Author: Reno Rangan from Somewhere in the Cosmos
4 September 2016

I was not sure about watching this film, but like usual ignoring the critics made me realise how much it was underrated. From the director of the Oscar winning film 'In a Better World'. After that great feat which ignited her international career, quite did not go well accordingly, including one project in the Hollywood. So she went back and made this Danish thriller-drama. Very strongly written screenplay, but feels it has flaws and then on its progress, they had all patched so brilliantly to make you think yourself you had got so wrong. It was not based on any book, but looks it could make one fine.

This is a story of 'the good' and 'the bad', and when 'the good' turns very bad, what would 'the bad' decide to do. A decent middle class couple who can do anything for their newborn child and another couple who are drug addicts whose newborn was completely neglected. When the tragedy strike in one of these families, the nightmare begins for another. A series of events follows where they all go for an extra mile to get a second chance. So see it to believe what people are capable when they are in the desperate situation.

Like the title and its tagline indicating, the narration carefully and intensely built the plot in the first act. That is the part you have to be watchful to learn the characters which is obviously a bit slower than the rest of the film. In the second half where it all turns to one direction to move on with a couple of quick twists. Totally unpredictable stuffs, because they were silly or maybe kind of familiar and you won't expect that to happen, but it does. I think that was the very clever, beside the powerful performance had brought a good balance between the pace and the contents of the film.

"People look different when they are dead. That's just how it is."

It did not win any big awards internationally or contended for the Oscars, but still the film is worth a watch. No matter what the critics say, this is one of the best films of the year. Like I said the story might look stupid in the paper, but the filmmakers stunning presented it on the screen. I won't be surprised if an improvised versions were made in other languages including Hollywood. After those fine progress it made in the middle part, the conclusion was somewhat ordinary. It suddenly skips a couple of years forward with one final short scene before the credits roll up which will make us feel good. That was a nice way to end after the shock the narration had given to us.

From the actors, Nikolaj Coaster-Wakdau was the screenpace ruler and did not fail to deliver. If this film is winning an award means he should be on the top of the list from the film followed by the direction and screenplay. In one of the film posters he just looks alike the current James Bond, the film was a lot better than the impression the posters give. His co-stars were not bad either.

There is sentiment in it, but not that effective, so the lack of melodrama is the big drawback. A theme like this should have bettered that part in order to make the overall film even better. Because the characters do not count when the subject it dealing with was has much higher priority. So the viewers always would be busy looking for what might happen to the story rather thinking its characters all the time. And that is because of the neutrality. Like I said before when 'the good' is as bad as 'the bad' it become, then everything end in an equal position and you might stop backing anyone particularly. There are many films like this, but this is kind of refreshing and very realistic. Definitely, I must end my review recommending it. So I hope you all enjoy it as I did.


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