7.6/10
36,797
91 user 207 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.

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

It took just three weeks in Danish cinemas for the film to turn a profit, according to the studio Zentropa. See more »

Goofs

In the first minutes of the movie, the white T-Shirt that Anton (Mikael Persbrandt) is wearing during the surgery of the little girl gets blood stained (at around 24 mins). When finished and outside the tent, the stain is much smaller and misplaced (at around 20 mins). When leaving on the small truck, the blood stain has moved once more (at around 50 mins). See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Christian: Can't wait until you back at school.
Elias: Me too.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
In a better movie...
15 September 2011 | by HellmantSee all my reviews

'IN A BETTER WORLD': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

This Danish drama won Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards (as well as the 2011 Golden Globe). It deals with violence in Denmark among children when two ten year olds meet at school and form an unhealthy alliance against bullies. The film was titled 'Haevnen' in Danish which means 'The Revenge'. It was directed by Susanne Bier and written by Anders Thomas Jensen. It stars Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt (and some of the film is spoken in Swedish, as well as English) as well as Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, William Johnk Nielsen and Markus Rygaard. I found the film interesting and well made but not nearly as good as all the critical acclaim and accolades it's gotten.

The film focuses on a boy named Elias (Rygaard) who is constantly picked on and abused by bullies at his school in Denmark. His father, Anton (Persbrandt), is a doctor who works at a refugee camp in Africa and is constantly commuting back and forth. Anton and Elias's mother, Marianne (Dyrholm), have not been getting along and are contemplating a divorce. Elias's younger brother has not been effected by this as much as he has but his parent's problems combined with the bullying at school has caused a lot of emotional problems for Elias. When a new kid named Christian (Nielsen) moves to town with his father, Claus (Thomsen), from London Elias finally finds a good friend and someone he can relate to. Christian, having just lost his mother to cancer, has psychological issues of his own and is eager to help Elias with his problems. They first get revenge on the main bully picking on Elias at school in a somewhat brutal way but when Anton is assaulted by another father their ideas for revenge turn much more dangerous.

I could really relate to the outcast elements of the film and the issues of dealing with bullying and finding that one friend you can really relate to but I didn't understand the depression issues that pushed the kids towards violence so easily. I've read that's part of the film's point, exploring "how little it takes before a child - or an adult - thinks something is deeply unjust" (as said by Bier herself, according to Wikipedia). In that way the film works but I couldn't really find it relatable. For a film to really work for me it has to strike certain emotions and I have to connect with it in some kind of way (either emotionally or on a pure entertainment level) and this film didn't do that for me (as well made as it is). The acting, directing and writing are all more than adequate but in my opinion it's far from a great film.

Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUMkZYiXwNQ


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