7.6/10
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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.

Director:

Susanne Bier

Writers:

Anders Thomas Jensen (screenplay), Susanne Bier (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:
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

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

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

At 13:37 in the Blu-ray director's commentary, Susanne Bier notes that Elias' braces were Markus Rygaard's own braces, not filming props. Having the bullies call him "rat face" was devised after casting, reasoning that, were he bullied, it would be in part for the braces. 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 The 83rd Annual Academy Awards (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A haunting insight into man's soul
12 February 2011 | by rowikoSee 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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