European Vacation | Film | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

European Vacation 

Force Majeure: Not-so-fun for the whole family!

Life is pain, even in the gorgeous French Alps. What starts as a perfect family vacation—one spent skiing pristine mountains, chatting in restaurants, laughing with friends—goes hideously awry in Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund's darkly hilarious and/or darkly horrifying tale of a marriage on the rocks. Or maybe that should be "on the slopes"? I don't know. The important thing is that these people are effed.

At first, the hairline cracks seem minor—a few slight, if pointed, remarks between Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and her husband, Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke), remarks that are patiently noted by their permanently moping children, Vera (Clara Wettergren) and Harry (Vincent Wettergren), but that otherwise seem hardly notable, the same day-to-day strain that marks any relationship. But when the family dines outside, on the resort's deck, a controlled avalanche appears to explode out of control—and Tomas, scrambling to escape, leaves behind Ebba and the kids.

Once the snow clears, Ebba and Tomas' slow burn of disappointment, rage, and sadness begins. Östlund, with a remarkable eye and a deft sense of timing, wrings everything out of his deceptively simple setup: Moving and unpredictable, Force Majeure keeps the viewer as uncomfortable and unsure as Ebba and Tomas. And, like Vera and Harry, we're helpless to do anything but watch this marriage's cracks split and shudder. (Any child of divorce—where my divorce pals at?—will likely suffer a few flashbacks. Except this time it's funny!)

As things get worse for Tomas and Ebba—their resentment and shame becoming its own sort of avalanche of awkward—the discomfort spreads, not only to their friends Mats (Kristofer Hivju) and Fanny (Fanni Metelius), but to the resort itself: Gradually, almost imperceptibly, Östlund transforms Ebba and Tomas' upscale vacation haven from something warm and welcoming to a cold, alien prison; its air, crisp and clear, grows loud not with chatter but with the thudding, soulless echoes of the resort's clattering machinery. Life is pain, even in the gorgeous French Alps. Life is pain, and sometimes there's an avalanche.

Force Majeure

dir. Ruben Östlund

Through Dec. 7

Tin Pan Theater

Pin It

Speaking of...


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Berry Fest

Berry Fest - Schilling's Garden Market

Sat., June 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun., June 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Now Playing

By Film...

By Theater...

Get Social

  •   @sourceweekly on Instagram

Latest in Film

More by Erik Henriksen

  • Crime Story

    What if The French Connection were...French?
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Too Old For This

    The Gunman: Where BAM! and KA-POW! Meet the AARP
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • Drum and Drummer

    Whiplash: When drumming is LIFE AND DEATH
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2021 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation