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In a Better World (2010)

Hævnen (original title)
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2:02 | Trailer
The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud. But loneliness, frailty and sorrow lie in wait.

Director:

Susanne Bier

Writers:

Anders Thomas Jensen (screenplay), Susanne Bier (story) | 2 more credits »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mikael Persbrandt ... Anton
Wil Johnson ... Najeeb (as Will Johnson)
Eddy Kimani Eddy Kimani ... Patient (as Eddie Kimani)
Emily Mulaya Emily Mulaya ... Sygeplejerske
Gabriel Muli Gabriel Muli ... Læge
June Waweru June Waweru ... Sygeplejerske
Mary Ndoku Mbai Mary Ndoku Mbai ... Patient (as Mary Nduku Mbai)
Dynah Bereket Dynah Bereket ... Gammel dame
William Jøhnk Nielsen ... Christian (as William Jøhnk Juel Nielsen)
Ulrich Thomsen ... Claus
Elsebeth Steentoft Elsebeth Steentoft ... Signe
Satu Mikkelinen Satu Mikkelinen ... Hanna (as Satu Helena Mikkelinen)
Camilla Gottlieb ... Eva
Simon Maagaard Holm Simon Maagaard Holm ... Sofus
Emil Nicolai Helms Emil Nicolai Helms ... Sofus' skolekammerat
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Storyline

Anton is a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark, and his work at an African refugee camp. In these two very different worlds, he and his family are faced with conflicts that lead them to difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness. Anton and his wife Marianne, who have two young sons, are separated and struggling with the possibility of divorce. Their older, ten-year-old son Elias is being bullied at school, until he is defended by Christian, a new boy who has just moved from London with his father, Claus. Christian's mother recently lost her battle with cancer, and Christian is greatly troubled by her death. Elias and Christian quickly form a strong bond, but when Christian involves Elias in a dangerous act of revenge with potentially tragic consequences, their friendship is tested and lives are put in danger. Ultimately, it is their parents who are left to help them come to terms with the complexity of human emotions, pain and empathy. Written by Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Producer

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent and disturbing content some involving preteens, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Denmark | Sweden

Language:

Danish | Swedish | English | Arabic

Release Date:

26 August 2010 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

In a Better World See more »

Filming Locations:

Fåborg, Fyn, Denmark See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,058, 3 April 2011

Gross USA:

$1,008,098

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,629,826
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The birthday that Christian and Elias share is July 7th. See more »

Goofs

When Anton (Michael Persbrant) performs his first surgery he scratches his head/corrects the position of his mask after having put on sterile gloves (at around 42 mins) thereby contaminating them and risking that the patient gets infected. A real surgeon would never do this, and if she or he did, she or he would change gloves. See more »

Quotes

Christian: If you hit them hard enough the first time they won't dare to hit you again.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Arthur (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Essay on Revenge
13 March 2011 | by 3xHCCHSee all my reviews

"In a Better World" by Susanne Bier from Denmark has won both the Golden Globe and later, the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It has done so over much more high-profile films like "Biutiful" from Mexico. My friend from Denmark has not seen it yet, but she told me that Ms. Bier is known for films about relationships. And this one is certainly no different.

The film follows the relationship of two confused pre-teen Danish boys. Christian's mother just died from cancer and he is angry at his dad for letting her go. He is the type who would not simply turn the other cheek in a conflict. Elias is the kid bullies like to pick on in school. His parents, who were both doctors, were in the process of divorce, which distresses him. Elias' dad works as a volunteer doctor in Africa, and this gives the film an extra dimension to work with.

The actual Danish title of this film is "Haevnen" which translates to "revenge." This is exactly what this film is all about. From the more familiar revenge on a bully at school to revenge in several other permutations in different situations in life are depicted here. There are several situations when you can effectively feel the tension of the characters in the events as they unfold on screen. Ms. Bier excels in building up the drama in the situations she has presented us, as vengeance ultimately leads to inevitable consequences.

I have not yet seen any of the other nominees yet so I could not really say if this was the best of them. All I can say is that this family melodrama was well done. The inter-crossing of the stories was done very effectively with suspense and sensitivity. The film is long (almost 2 hrs) and slow, but it is riveting. However, you can't completely shake the feeling that the conflicts you are seeing in "In a Better World" are all familiar situations that we probably have all seen before in various other films -- just better presented. And that is the thing that sets it apart.


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