I haven’t been this shaken up by a movie in a long time.
Lucas works in a daycare. He is accused of touching one of the little girls in his care.
He says she’s lying. She can’t quite remember the details. Soon, though, the whole class is recounting the same story. They’ve all been touched inappropriately. They can all describe his basement, his couch and tables and rugs, in fine detail. But Lucas doesn’t have a basement.
The thing is, we know the little girl is lying, right from the start. She’s just a kid and I felt no real ill-will toward her. She even tries to recant, but the problem is, her parents and teachers are already caught up in the persecution of a pedophile. His best friends, his girlfriend, his ex-wife – everyone is prepared to believe the worst. Gossip gets out of hand in this small Danish community in about 10 seconds flat. He loses his job, gets arrested, custody of his son is revoked. His whole life is turned upside down. The town is vehement about his guilt, and if the law won’t prosecute them, they will.
It’s absolutely awful to see this man wrongly convicted of the absolute worst thing you can accuse someone of. It’s fucking brutal. But I couldn’t quite hate the parents as much as I wanted. They aren’t really villains; they’re protecting their children. There’s some mishandling along the way, but of course there is. We are talking about very small children, and of course things will get heated when we believe the worst has happened. This movie gave me such a heavy heart that I needed there to be a villain, but I think even Lucas struggled to entirely blame his tormenters – after all, he too is a father. The Hunt (English Subtitled) is very skillfully assembled, and all the more disturbing because it feels entirely too possible.
But what happens to Lucas? Even if he’s proven innocent, even if all the kids recant, even if all the parents are convinced…can his life ever recover?