Force Majeure – 4.5 stars

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This is a disquieting look into how a single failure, even one that is in no way fatal, can fray the bond of an entire family.  Tomas, Ebba and their two young children are on a ski vacation having lunch at a resort top restaurant when a controlled avalanche gets a little out of control and for a moment, threatens to engulf them.  How they react and the aftermath reveals a great deal about commitment, gender expectations, the frailty of masculinity, the dangers of self denial and the ability of people ostensibly in love to casually gut each other.  I know that seems a mouthful, but it’s all there in this literate, intelligent picture.  The film was rightly bandied as a potential Best Foreign Film nominee, but it did not make the cut.  Perhaps because it was too thought-provoking and never really let you comfortably take a strong position.  This is one of those movies that you could talk about for hours with your wife or girlfriend or other couples, but in many ways, I’m glad I saw it alone and avoided a discussion that probably would have gotten me into hot water.  The only knock is a bit of a discordant ending.

Currently on Netflix streaming.

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