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
Director Ruben Östlund acquired inspiration for some scenes in the screenplay from real footage on YouTube. For example, the avalanche which serves as a momentum early in the story was inspired by a video Östlund found on YouTube, and a performance by a 12-year-old accordionist of Vivaldi's "Summer" was taken directly from a YouTube clip and played repeatedly throughout the film. 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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– An avalanche comes dreadfully close to burying a family on vacation in the Alps. The shock of this freak occurrence does not end here. Fear continues to cascade through individual psyches and false facades. While mingling and mixing with fellow travelers, questions arise regarding how much each family member cares for the others. Judgments are as cold and indifferent as ice and snow, and potentially more damaging. Winner of one of the oddly named and puzzlingly layered jury prizes at Cannes, Force Majeure delves into the disconnection and dissonance that happens when personal occupations, habits, anxieties and phones take the place of communication and empathy within a family. The near tragedy and the time and occasion to dwell on it, call into question what it means to be a woman and man. For all the buzz surrounding this film I expected a little more from the actors, yet they are capable enough. The profound impact and depth of the story, masterful transitioning and clever use of silence, sound and winter imagery, more than make up for this minor offense. This is a complex and striking film in a deceptively simple package.
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