A seemingly perfect Swedish family is enjoying a perfect family ski vacation. Perfect until an avalanche begins careening down the mountain towards the outdoor restaurant where they are having lunch. Survival instincts kick in and cracks appear in this family’s perfect facade. This all happens within the first fifteen minutes of the film.
The vacation was supposed to be a way for this family to spend quality time together. But the avalanche puts a rift into an already fragile dynamic. Director Ruben Ostlund convincingly captures the couple’s marital discord as their marriage begins to unravel.The husband and wife remember different versions of what happened at lunch and as they retell the story to various people the wife’s reaction changes from confusion to anger while the husband internalizes his feelings. Their children pick up on the tension and are afraid of what may happen to this family.
This movie is about is relationships: What happens when someone proves not to be who you thought they were? Are we the person we hope to be when an avalanche hits the proverbial fan? Can a broken family repair itself? I thought this was going to be a movie about the major force of an avalanche, but force majeure is a legal term allowing a person to be released from their liabilities following an extraordinary event. In a way this fantastic movie is about both. By equal measure funny and sad; I guarantee will make you think about it long after it’s over. LAR
Running time: 118 minutes