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The Square (2017)

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A prestigious Stockholm museum's chief art curator finds himself in times of both professional and personal crisis as he attempts to set up a controversial new exhibit.

Director:

Ruben Östlund

Writer:

Ruben Östlund
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Popularity
2,998 ( 101)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Claes Bang ... Christian
Elisabeth Moss ... Anne
Dominic West ... Julian
Terry Notary ... Oleg
Christopher Læssø Christopher Læssø ... Michael
Lise Stephenson Engström Lise Stephenson Engström ... Daughter
Lilianne Mardon Lilianne Mardon ... Daughter
Marina Schiptjenko Marina Schiptjenko ... Elna
Annica Liljeblad ... Sonja
Elijandro Edouard Elijandro Edouard ... Boy with Letter
Daniel Hallberg Daniel Hallberg ... Dark-Haired Advertising Agent
Martin Sööder Martin Sööder ... Blond Advertising Agent
John Nordling John Nordling ... Account Manager
Maja Gödicke Maja Gödicke ... Marketing First Assistant
Nicki Dar Nicki Dar ... Nicki
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Storyline

Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is "The Square", an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes, it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian's foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the museum's PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for "The Square". The response is overblown and sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some strong sexual content, and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Sweden | Germany | France | Denmark

Language:

Swedish | English | Danish

Release Date:

25 August 2017 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Квадрат See more »

Filming Locations:

Gothenburg, Sweden See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,233, 29 October 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,502,347, 22 March 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ruben Östlund said it was challenging for Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West to adapt to Swedish direction, but they eventually adjusted. See more »

Goofs

In the closing titles of "The Girl With A Kitten" clip, the Hebrew version is wrong: the English noun "square" appears in Hebrew as "an open space in a city" rather than "rectangle with all sides equal"). See more »

Quotes

Christian: The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.
See more »


Soundtracks

Improvisació 1
Performed by Bobby McFerrin
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User Reviews

 
Satirizing the Cultural Elite
22 November 2017 | by kyanberuSee all my reviews

Director Ruben Ostland has followed up his 2014 Golden Globe nominee Force Majeure with Cannes Palme d'Or winner The Square. The film is both a satire of the cultural elite of Stockholm and a sad commentary about the separation between individuals both within circles and between circles. The lead character, Christian (Claes Bang), is the curator of a museum of modern art that seeks to draw attention and donors through avant-garde exhibits and over-the-edge social media campaigns. The film follows Christian through a few weeks of his life when one of the hot new exhibits is "The Square", an actual square in the museum courtyard that is meant to be "a sanctuary of trust and caring." But rather than show trust and caring, the movie The Square raises a number of troubling questions: How thin is the veneer of civilization? Can political correctness substitute for empathy? Is art whatever a curator chooses to put in an art museum? And enveloping these questions is the separation of the circle of Stockholm's cultural elites from the City's homeless and immigrant population, as well as the separation of individuals within the City's cultural elite. One set piece in particular portrays the inability of the Stockholm's elite to communicate on a human level: It is Christian's meeting with Anne (Elisabeth Moss), a publicist, the day after a night of sex—and a bizarre argument over what to do with a used condom. In this scene Christian is totally unable to say the needed words about what had happened between them. (Anne, an American, comes across as much more able to relate to others than any of the Swedes in the movie.) Another memorable scene is the one in which a banquet for museum donors is interrupted when the performer (Terry Notary), playing an ape, goes out of control. The diners, who are initially frozen by their need for decorum, or perhaps by their need to display political correctness, ultimately go ape themselves. Perhaps not a total surprise since the same donor diners had earlier stampeded their way to a luncheon in a lighter scene. There are many sub-plots in the film—some satirizing interactions within Stockholm's upper class, others between classes— perhaps leaving some viewers displeased by the way the film jumps without warning from one set piece to another. Others may dislike long stretches of art-film inactivity in many of the episodes—something that explains why the movie lasts for 2 hours and 22 minutes. Nevertheless, The Square does capture the alienation of modern society, and does it with plenty of dark humor.


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