Force Majeure

While holidaying in the French Alps, a Swedish family deals with acts of cowardliness as an avalanche breaks out.


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  • ★★★★½ review by Matt Singer on Letterboxd

    This is why I don't go skiing. NEVER GO SKIING YOU GUYS.

  • ★★★★½ review by Blain LaMotta on Letterboxd

    A stunning examination of masculinity in crisis and how one split second decision under duress can change the whole infrastructure of a family unit. Increasingly tense dialogue exchanges ensue. It's also surprisingly humorous at times. Some bravura sequences in this sucker too, like the epic avalanche long take, and the stressful, thought-provoking bus ride that closes the film. The scene at the bar with the song Reload playing in the background might be my favorite though. It tells a lot by doing very little. Lots to debate in this one. Authentic performances, restrained direction, and gorgeous cinematography round things out. Any film that can make me question myself deserves all the praise I can muster. Superb job, Ruben Östlund!

  • ★★★★ review by Vincent Lao on Letterboxd

    Ruben Östlund's sophisticated, wickedly funny, and intriguing dissection of masculinity, gender roles, marriage, and relationships is irresistibly alive, uncomfortable, yet absolutely clever. Östlund's psychodrama follows a couple and their kids in a ski vacation somewhere in France, but the couple's relationship is severely tested by an avalanche that will trigger their inner demons, as well examine their moral dilemmas.

    It's like Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf with special participation of Haneke's cold precision. Ostlund creates a very warm, emotionally explosive atmosphere even if it's set in a cold, snowy setting. You can't help but squirm and laugh with the characters as well as question your own morals when watching the film. The actors are superb. Johannes Kuhnke, plays the Tomas the father, who gives a reasonable, charming performance. While Lisa Kongsli who plays Ebba the mother, gives a pitch-perfect performance and definitely steals the show. Overall, Ostlund's psychodrama hits the right points at the right time. It's clever, satisfying, unpredictable, uncomfortable, and funny. Certainly one of the must-see movies of 2014!

  • ★★★★ review by Jonathan White on Letterboxd

    TIFF 2014 Film #3

    Reason for pick : Peter Strauss recommendation based on buzz at Cannes.

    Guys … we’ve all been there before. You make one ‘teensy’ and she never lets you forget it. Alas, sometimes, well, most times .. ok, all the time we deserve it.

    Swedish director Ruben Östlund takes a look the topic of gender roles, reflexes, instinct, honor, and what society expects of us in the face of a sudden crisis. What makes Force Majeure special is how Östlund shifts between tragic and hilarious with such ease, constantly keeping you off balance. Just when you think you’re catching a break, a swift punch to the gut is delivered.

    The comedy is blacker than black, and the tragedy is gut wrenching. Östlund asks a lot of his actors, and they deliver in spades. The four primary characters are completely in tune with Östlund’s absurdest style, and the two child actors with their naturalistic performances.

    Shot primarily in the Swiss and French Alps ( with the star shot courtesy of the Canadian Rockies ) Force Majeure is gorgeous. The Steadicam shots skiing down the slopes are breathtaking.

    There’s virtually no comedy in the first thirty minutes or so. I was beginning to get worried that this was going to be a long, uncomfortable train-wreck. Östlund’s timing is perfect in pulling out the cork just when you think you can’t take any more.

    A gem! Thanks, Peter.

  • ★★★★ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd

    THE LONELIEST PLANET chilled and served family style.

    mordantly mirthful riff on the fragility of gender roles that soars to the top of the list of films you should never watch with your partner. so good. still mulling over the last scene, though... which is some heart-in-your-throat cinema, but feels redundant in the wake of the penultimate scene? would be interested to discuss in vague terms.

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