7.6/10
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93 user 203 critic

In a Better World (2010)

Hævnen (original title)
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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.

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(screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

| | |

Release Date:

26 August 2010 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

In a Better World  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,058, 3 April 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,008,098

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,004,198
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Danish title 'Hævnen' translates into English as 'Revenge'. Susanne Bier mentioned that she prefers the English title 'In a Better World' which emphasizes the hopefulness of the film while the Danish title emphasizes the severeness of the film (at 1:52:49 in the Blu-ray director's commentary). See more »

Goofs

Eva's hands change position on Christian's face when she is holding him in the hospital corridor. See more »

Quotes

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

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.11 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A haunting insight into man's soul
12 February 2011 | by See all my reviews

I saw this on the plane the other day, and my only regret is that it was on a small screen.

I've come to like Danish films in general (and Ulrich Thomsen in particular) in recent years, although they are usually not very easy to watch. What they all seem to have in common is a certain melancholy, and they can therefore come across as rather depressing.

The same here. Christian's mother's cancer death is quite obviously affecting both the boy and his dad very, very deeply (though in very different ways), and the deep sorrow seem catchy for the viewer as well. It is probably also, however, a sign of the brilliant acting.

The parallel storyline of Elias and his parents, who are in the process of a divorce, affects the viewer equally deeply.

The stories are brilliantly interlinked, and the underlying theme of revenge is constantly there and makes us think. A lot! A deep-going, dramatic and extremely powerful movie, which, I think, a wide audience should see. In my view, it would certainly deserve an Oscar!


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