A Swedish family travels to the French Alps to enjoy a few days of skiing. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular but, during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche turns everything upside down. With diners fleeing in all directions, mother Ebba calls for her husband Tomas as she tries to protect their children. Tomas, meanwhile, is running for his life... The anticipated disaster failed to occur, and yet the family's world has been shaken to its core, a question mark hanging over their father in particular. Tomas and Ebba's marriage now hangs in the balance as Tomas struggles desperately to reclaim his role as family patriarch.Written by
Cannes Film Festival
Official submission of Sweden to the best foreign language film category of the 87th Academy Awards 2015. Made the shortlist of 9 films. See more »
At about 1.50 minutes in as the bus is going down the switch backs, as they approach the final switchback the bus gets stuck on the retaining wall is solid. When the passengers get off and watch the bus back up the wall is crenelated concrete. See more »
There's nothing in your head that you haven't said!
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In the tradition of movies like 2011's "The Loneliest Planet", the inciting incident of Sweden's failed entry into this year's awards season is sure to spur uncomfortable conversations with those dumb enough to watch this with a spouse or loved one.
"Force Majeure", a title which literally translates to superior force or unavoidable accident, follows a picturesque family (father, mother, son and daughter) on a ski vacation at a picturesque ski resort. They seem to be having the perfect time.
During a dinner, they find themselves witness to a controlled avalanche which comes a little too close for comfort. But when this happens a split second decision is made; a decision which clearly bothers the wife more than her husband, as (through conversation) she is forced (and forces herself) to relive the event over and over again; a decision that will slowly begin to snowball in the days that follow, causing this happy family to question everything which up to that point had bonded them together.
While this premise sounds like the makings of a fascinating social experiment (and it is, for a time) the issue with "Force Majeure" lies in its overlong runtime. The fateful event happens in the first 15 minutes and the effects of this event begin immediately after that. Yet this is a 2 hours plus movie. And thus, at around the one hour mark I remembered thinking to myself, "OK, I got it. This is an interesting experiment, but wrap it up already." The direction from Ruben Ostlund is definitely a high point, as was the cinematography, both which really capture the beauty as well as the tremendous force of this films natural backdrop. And yes, there are a few interesting moments in the latter half of this movie, but even these become repetitious. And as it all leads up to an obnoxiously ambiguous ending anyway, with seemingly nothing to say about events which proceeded it, it's safe to say that "Force Majeure" would have made a better short.
Final Thought: Despite what most critics were predicting, "Force Majeure" did not receive a 2015 Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. And, in this reviewer's opinion, did not deserve one. So with that said, this late lukewarm review will undoubtedly mean nothing and furthermore is one nobody will likely read anyway.
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