Force Majeure: Strong Wind Blows—Movie

If ever a family needed a vacation from their vacation, it is the “Force Majeure’s” Tomas’ and Ebba’s family. Written and directed by Ruben Östlund, “Force Majeure” raises the question of what one does when someone they love doesn’t react the way in which they are expected to react, especially in times of stress. How do others feel about that person? How does that person feel?

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We meet Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and their two children on a family vacation in an idyllic French Alps setting. They seem like any normal family with normal problems. Like many young couples, Tomas and Ebba are trying to figure out how to keep their romance alive with children in the mix. Life as the family knows it comes to a screeching halt on the second day of their vacation. The family is eating lunch outdoors when all of a sudden it appears that an avalanche is approaching and the unthinkable happens. When the snow settles all is well physically, but emotionally things are not the same and it’s not certain that they every will be again. How Tomas and Ebba reacted to the potential tragedy becomes a bone of contention between them. Ebba cannot bring herself to forget or forgive. In her eyes, what Tomas has done is so unthinkable that she brings up the incident to a new friend they’ve just made on vacation for her reaction and again to friends, Mats (Kristofer Hivju) and his 20-year-old girlfriend, Fanni (Fanni Metelius), who are staying at the same resort.

Östlund has put together a well-crafted story and assembled a terrific cast to tell it. Johannes Bah Kuhnke as Tomas is absolutely fantastic. His character’s reaction to what he’s done…or hasn’t done…feels very real…at times over the top, but somehow still very genuine. Lisa Loven Kongsli as Ebba is also outstanding as the betrayed wife. The look of disappointment in her eyes is palpable. Their children, played by real-life brother and sister, Clara and Vincent Wettergren, seem very authentic in their feelings toward their parents. “Force Majeure” is one film in which the family just behaves like a family. As comic relief, Kristofer Hivju and Fanni Metelius are extremely funny. One almost hopes they get a film of their own.

Östlund has done an excellent job with all the little touches…most especially the bathroom scenes. You watch Tomas’ and Ebba’s relationship go down the drain, literally,  just by the increasing ferocity in which Ebba brushes her teeth. “Force Majeure” is beautifully shot. The snow, the setting…if it wasn’t for the ugliness behind the beauty, it would make you want to hop on the next plane over.

Considering this is a joint production of Sweden, France, Norway and Denmark, much of the dialogues is in English. Even if that wasn’t the case, it would matter not. The acting, the story itself, will have you skipping right over the captions…”Force Majeure” is that good.

4 nuggets out of 4

 

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4 Responses to “Force Majeure: Strong Wind Blows—Movie”

  1. JustMeMike Says:

    This looks intriguing. Your review has revved up my interest in seeing this one.

    Like

  2. thycriticman Says:

    Man, I know that feeling. I’ll set up the greatest date for a night, and boom…one little issue and BOOM…date night ruined. Unexpected little nuisances such.

    However, an avalanche is a rather big nuisance. This looked a bit boring from the trailer, but I might have to give it a second look now!

    Like

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