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3,148 Ratings

Force Majeure


Directed by Ruben Östlund
Sweden, France, 2014
Drama, Comedy


A Swedish family travels to enjoy a few days of skiing. The slopes are spectacular but, during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche turns everything upside down. Tomas and Ebba’s marriage now hangs in the balance as Tomas struggles desperately to reclaim his role as family patriarch.

Our take

Before he won his Palme d’Or for The Square, Ruben Östlund sparked fervor in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section with the marriage drama Force Majeure. Provocative, insightful and at times excruciating—a frequently hilarious study of instinct, etiquette, and a family man’s masculinity.

Force Majeure Directed by Ruben Östlund
Östlund has claimed that his goal in making Force Majeure was to increase the divorce rate. What separates the film from the simplicity of that ambition (and from the work, for instance, of a filmmaker like Michael Haneke) is the ambivalence pulsing under every scene. It is this extraordinarily human quality that lifts and complicates Force Majeure, causing what could have been another bleak indictment to all but vibrate.
January 06, 2015
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A prize-winner at Cannes this year, and easily one of the most impressive European dramas of late, “Force Majeur” is assured and finely calibrated on every level, with especially expert, nuanced performances by its leads. Östlund’s cool, distanced style has been compared to that of Michael Haneke, though the adjective “Kubrickian” might also be applied: Though less horrific (or final) than that of “The Shining,” the alpine marital ordeal chronicled here is no less striking.
October 24, 2014
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Even as it is conveying disquieting truths, the film manages to be ruefully, understatedly, and mischievously funny… It’s never obvious or sentimental, never predictable, nor does it descend into domestic soap opera. It’s as explosive and as controlled as the walls of ice and snow tumbling down the mountain.
October 24, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • Ben Dooley's rating of the film Force Majeure

    A controlled avalanche at a skiing resort nearly goes wrong and the father of an IKEA-perfect family, rather than save his kids, runs away; this leads to a psychological ‘avalanche’ in the family. The film’s genius is that it plays so well on that knife’s edge where excessive melodrama builds scenes to their extreme comic breaking point. Similar to Joanna Hogg’s Archipelago but leans far more towards comedy.

  • vladd's rating of the film Force Majeure

    Rarely you'll witness a more thorough dissection of a family's core, when faced with matters like dissolving trust and unattended, ever-amplifying tensions. I can only think of Jonathan Franzen's book, "Corrections" as a worthy parallel. Force Majeure may be hard to watch at times, but that only proves its spot-on rendition of the human soul left without any defense at all.

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Force Majeure

    Many beautiful elements in this film, but doesn't quite add up. In fact, it almost put me to sleep, and I watched it in the middle of the day. The advert for the film called it "wickedly funny"; I wouldn't say that. It wasn't very funny at all. It was sad, in an everyday sort of way.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film Force Majeure

    A piercing character study about masculinity in crisis. It’s incredibly precise and nuanced. It handles its themes with maturity and lack of bombast, the camera always being a quiet observer, present in the room but never too close to generate any kind of subjective opinion. It’s the type of film that just chisels away, inch by inch, crafting the psychology of its characters in painstaking minutia.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Force Majeure

    With narrative originallity being undeniable, though not necessarily cinematically 'true', Östlund wants to have the cake and eat it too. The acerbic take on the Swedish family cohesion and on societal pressure to contain aggressive emotions is handled with evident sociological and directorial skill, yet the force majeure of the beast within is relegated to a drive that can be switched on or off after idealist goals.

  • Mugino's rating of the film Force Majeure

    The razor thin ties that bind people come unraveling in a split-second instant of stark transparency. Whether by colossal force or merely a poor choice of words, when the veil of artifice flutters aside, we are left gawping at the house of cards we've built for ourselves. The austere cinematography is a cruel accomplice, framing our hapless protagonists with comically cool detachment. Bracing and droll.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film Force Majeure

    Avec en arrière fond sonore la régulière déflagration des dynamitages préventifs provoquant des avalanches artificielles et à travers de pertinents plans séquences qui accentuent les tensions et les tourments des personnages, se débattant dans une configuration quelque peu isolationniste, le metteur en scène échafaude une épistémologie d'une forme de pusillanimité instinctive et antihéroïque.

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film Force Majeure

    1/ As a woman you'll think "Guys? All cowards" 2/ As a man you'll think "Women? so complicated & never satisfied" 3/ You planned to skii this winter? Go to Morocco or Senegal instead. === 1/ Vous êtes une femme, vous penserez "Les mecs? Des lâches & des salauds" 2/ Vous êtes un homme, vous penserez "Les nanas? Compliquées & jamais contentes" 3/ Vous aviez envie de skier cet hiver? Allez plutôt au Maroc ou au Sénégal.

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