A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to... Read allA teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
In his film, Mads Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a divorced father who works at a kindergarten. He seems like a genuinely nice man and is trying to get his life together. He has a new girlfriend, his son wants to come live with him and he has no reason to expect what happens. A very young girl is shown some pornographic material by some older boys and later in passing she tells another teacher that she has seen Lucas' penis when she actually didn't. Some folks investigate and ask leading questions--and suddenly there is a bit of hysteria as the community assumes Lucas is guilty--even his so-called friends. And, no matter what he does, he cannot PROVE he never did anything.
So is the film any good? Well, based on it now being on IMDb's Top 250 list (at number 133), it's obvious a lot of folks loved the film. With a current score of 8.3, it's not at all surprising it would be nominated for the Oscar. As for me, I thought the film was terrific and thought-provoking. It made its point very well by using VERY vivid scenes involving the community literally tormenting Lucas. You can't help but feel affected by the drama--thanks to the script by Tobias Lindholm and Thomas Vinterberg himself.
I did have one problem with the film--and this is why I didn't score it a 10. Although I think such a theme is great stuff for older kids and teens to watch with their folks, there are a few graphic scenes that were unnecessary for the film and which would probably make many of these parents not show the movie to their families. I think the kids need to see the violence against Lucas but the sex scene and photo weren't really needed in the film. A very light trimming would have made this a great film for ages 12 and older. Now, because it's rated R in the US, it's unlikely these younger viewers would get to see it. This film needs to be seen by a wide audience as it's very, very well made and worth seeing.
By the way, in many ways, this film is like a dramatization of what occurred in the very famous McMartin Pre-School case here in America. Apparently, some very unqualified interviewers screwed up a case and soon had half the school accused of sexual abuse. Some of the stories they reported were downright insane (such as their victimizers being able to fly). Many folks were prosecuted and only later did folks realize what had occurred--a serious rush to judgment. And, as there was no real proof, the accused were all acquitted--but only after years and years of investigations and trials. And, in one case, one of the accused spent five years in jail despite no ultimate conviction.
Also, if you are curious about me, I used to work with sexual abuse victims and perpetrators as a therapist. I am NOT minimizing sexual abuse claims in my review of the film. Too many women are ignored or treated like dirt when they are victims--I've seen this myself. It's just the unqualified and irresponsible interviews with very small children that bothers me. I've worked with many folks in the field and saw that most interviewers (at least back in the 1980s and 90s) were woefully untrained and potentially dangerous because of this.
- Jan 18, 2014