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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 »
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4,713 ( 563)
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

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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 83rd Annual Academy Awards (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

This isn't as much a great movie as a great experience
19 October 2011 | by socrates99See all my reviews

This movie is a far more direct and disturbing probe into some of our more troubling inclinations than anything I've seen since becoming a fan of Lars von Trier's movies. The topic here is vengeance and its consequences, more or less. I was a little surprised to find it had been directed by a woman, Susanne Bier. I've always thought women would be good at this kind of near melodrama but have never actually seen one tackle such a project, to my knowledge. The story centers around two boys and their developing reaction to first school house bullying, but then a much more serious instance of it in their home life. The acting is beautifully done and none of the leads seem to have held back in the slightest. One dad is a doctor who, it appears, donates his services to a part of Africa wrought with violence. Despite his obvious good nature, he and his wife, also a doctor, are having problems.

It's unusual in my experience to have a woman show just how much more selfless a man might be than his wife, but that is exactly what is done here. And it's quite refreshing. But the sweep and breadth of this movie is quite satisfying on its own, spanning from Africa to modern day Denmark. This is a trip I wouldn't hesitate recommending to anyone.


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