Denmark 1969. When 13 year old Frits is caught in the girls locker room, school principal Svendsen almost tears Frits' ear off. It has to be stitched in the hospital. The doctor says this time the principal has gone a step too far. Parents, colleagues, and class mates react affected by the incident. But it's not that easy to file a child abuse charge against the powerful principal who is highly esteemed in the small community. When the police say it's a school matter, Frits' parents are hesitant about going to the school board because other parents had to move away after their child abuse charge was turned down. But with the help of young hippie teacher Freddie and some of Frits' classmates, the determination of Frits' parents grows to bring down the violent principal.
A rousing family film with its nose right on the money.
Insisting that Martin Luther King's inspirational spirit resides not just in American civil liberties but inside the hearts and minds of people everywhere, Danish helmer Niels Arden Oplev transplants this belief to a 1969 Danish middle school. More specifically, it works its way into the crusade of a young boy named Frits (Janus Dissing Rathke) against his oppressively rigid and churlishly abusive headmaster Svendsen (Bent Mejding). Adapted from a true story, the performances are executed with certain aplomb and a refreshing command over its varied characters keeps it involving. A battle of ideologies between a 13 year-old and a demented disciplinarian gives way to inherent humour but awkward shifts in mood disorients despite keeping it shrewdly cynical in the same vein as a "Dead Poets Society" more than a "Matilda". It treads a familiar path but a continued and precise service to its young protagonist including a personal subplot that rounds off Frits as a young boy becoming a young man, manages to raise the film into a rousing family film with its nose right on the money.
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