Here is the official trailer:
This seems to be a can't miss film, especially for those of us who care about creating a healthier more authentic masculinity.
The bleak, funny Force Majeure
By Nick Schager on October 23, 2014
Tired of all those superheroes outmatching you in toughness, confidence, and manliness? If so, then the cinematic antidote has arrived in the form of Force Majeure, a Swedish film (and the country's Oscar entry) that tears masculinity a new one.
Opening in limited release tomorrow and then expanding in the coming weeks, director Robert Ostlund's film is ostensibly a drama. But its dissection of macho attitudes and guises is so unsparing that it achieves a pitch-perfect balance between scathing censure and black humor. Rarely has a film taken men to the woodshed for their failings with such a mix of disgust, pity, and wit, the last of which is the key ingredient that helps make Force Majeure such a unique high-wire balancing act. It puts the awkwardness of a Ben Stiller farce to shame, and investigates the man-child phenomenon more deeply than a timid Hollywood bro-comedy ever could.
The film, exquisitely shot to emphasize the dynamics between characters, concerns a middle-class Swedish family on a ski-resort vacation. They're an average clan, led by the average Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke), whose defining characteristic is his milquetoast personality and habit of constantly checking his iPhone for work messages. Their perfectly pleasant, unremarkable getaway is demolished, however, when during breakfast on the resort terrace one morning, a "controlled" avalanche is detonated by mountain officials, and the cascade of snow approaches the vacationers. At first, Tomas tells his panicking children to be calm. Yet as the snow builds to a roaring wall facing them, the possibility of death becomes frighteningly real. In that moment, as wife Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) grabs the children to shield them from the avalanche, Tomas grabs his gloves and phone—and flees.
Yes, he flees.
It's a moment of undeniable cowardice, and one that doesn't go unnoticed by Ebba and the kids, who, once the false alarm is over, sit in stunned silence as their father rejoins them at the table. Tomas's spinelessness and selfishness hang in the air for what seems like an eternity, even as they resume their vacation, with the kids miserable and Ebba barely able to contain her revulsion around Tomas. Her horror at her husband soon builds to an uncontrollable point, and it's then, during two separate conversations with other couples, that Force Majeure truly becomes a film that's watched while squirming restlessly and half-covering one's eyes.
During the first of those two chats, with a man and woman they've just met, Tomas denies that he fled the scene, thus digging himself an even deeper hole. Of course, Tomas is wracked with shame over his failure to act as protector, and Force Majeure depicts him as a man who's outwardly possessed and yet so internally weak and pathetic that he lacks even the courage to retroactively admit to (and atone for) his sins. Tomas hits rock bottom during a later evening spent with big-bearded friend Mats (Game of Thrones' Kristofer Hivju) and his 20-year-old girlfriend, who are put in the amusingly uncomfortable position of having to hear about Tomas's gutlessness, and then, in Mats's case, try to put a positive spin on indefensible behavior. During this tense centerpiece, director Ostlund refuses to turn away from his characters as they grapple with Tomas's shortcomings and the misery he's wrought, casting such an intense eye on Tomas and Ebba (and, in heartbreaking cutaways, their kids) that the film takes on the air of an inescapable nightmare at which you can only laugh.
Tomas's and Mats's ladies-man self-images are destroyed while they have a post-skiing drink, and Mats's girlfriend slams him for, hypothetically speaking, having the same cowardly instincts as Tomas (because, in part, he's left his kids with his ex-wife). No matter where you turn in Force Majeure, masculinity is under attack, and with good reason. And yet despite its scornful critique of traditional ideas about men's strength, bravery, virility, and altruism fostered by Marvel comics adaptations, Ostlund's film is no reprimanding lecture or slog. Instead, by rigorously fixating on his characters' faces as they refuse to look at each other or blubber uncontrollably over their own crappiness, he's created a sharply funny satire about the distance between what men project and what they really are. It's a joke for the ages, but it's also designed as a wake-up call to the real modern man-children of the world who haven't owned up to their true, flawed selves.