Reviewed by Sean
Force Majeure is a fascinating movie and a great conversation starter. Basic spoilers will follow but I’ll try to rein myself in as much as possible.
I saw Force Majeure with Jay and Matt yesterday. We talked about it for at least an hour afterward, discussing what we would have done and how we would have reacted (as one of the leads and as their dinner guests), what Tomas could have done differently (once he abandons his family in a moment of panic), and what might have happened after the movie cuts to the credits. Any movie that is this thought-provoking is a worthy watch. Force Majeure definitely excels at drawing the conversation out.
This film also takes great pleasure in making us extremely, extremely uncomfortable. After their disastrous outdoor lunch where disaster (almost) strikes, our interactions with Tomas and his family consist almost entirely of awkward silences, anguished wailing, and/or passive aggressive attacks on each other at group dinners. All these interactions are extremely hard to watch because their relationship has gone so bad so quick (though I liked the inclusion of some hints that it might not have been that good in the first place).
I am told this is Sweden’s candidate for the Academy Awards’ best foreign language film. It’s very worthy of consideration for that award. It makes you think, it makes you feel, and it makes you want to talk about everything you’ve gone through. The inclusion of some scenes was a puzzle to figure out as I was watching, though in discussing many of them with Jay and Matt afterward I was able to understand their relevance more, as each scene tries to show us something about our characters’ feelings or mindsets. That puzzle element, in hindsight, is a neat aspect of the movie, providing insight into these characters’ fragile states and letting us experience for ourselves the devastating consequences of Tomas’ split-second decision. This is not an easy movie to watch but it is one to seek out and experience for yourself. And once you do, come back and let us know what you thought!