Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 38 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. A triumph of psychological drama, owing as much to Ms. Bier's sensitive style as to Anders Thomas Jensen's smart screenplay, based on Bier's own story idea.
  2. We do live in a fraught world of interconnections, Bier makes clear, and what happens far away matters, in unexpected ways, close to home.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Gripping from start to finish.
  4. The end result was that the performances reached a remarkable level of intimacy and intensity.
  5. While the film's strength lies in an ensemble effort, it's really Sarah and Jannik who provide the film with its most compelling characters, its momentum and, ultimately, its heart.
  6. 75
    Piercingly co-written and directed by Susanne Bier, the movie dramatizes one man's collapse and the other's surprising maturation.
  7. 30
    Bier's portrayal of the brothers' interplay holds few surprises, and the exploitation of the war between East and West is vulgar, contrived and borderline racist.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Dave
    Feb 7, 2006
    Great film, gives a good view of the effects of war on a family.
  2. BryanG.
    Feb 23, 2006
    Subtle differences in familiar plot lines make the reality of emotion stand out as the crowning execution in this film. It is wonderfully atypical.
  3. DawnJ.
    Mar 4, 2006
    The strengths of the movie lie in its unflinching portrayal of the very personal complexities of war. Two families are The strengths of the movie lie in its unflinching portrayal of the very personal complexities of war. Two families are impacted-Michael's own wife and daughters and the wife and son of Niels Peter, a townsman and fellow soldier who shares his prison cave. It is in the comparison of these two families in which the film's conflict lies. We get a brief snapshot of Neils Peter's family when Michael visits her upon his return. The cropping is close; the camera closes in on a spare white kitchen table. Niels Peter's wife Ditte sit at the table, alone in her grief and longing. The film spends much more time on Sophia's family of two roustabout girls and the constantly present brother Jannik. The scope is expansive, dynamic. The range of laughter and tears is photographed in a medley of shots against a background of colors, textures, hammers, saws, and bustle. Clearly, progress is being made, particularly before Michael's return. There is no sugar coating of post-trauma life, no sentimentalized view of family. The performances are uniformly strong, the photography intense, the music good. The story leaves us with questions: Why do Jannik and Sophia not consummate their desire? Why do the brothers' parents drop out of the story once the elder son has returned? The complexities of the film provoke questions we want to see answered. Even though the film presents nothing startlingly new about PTSD, it at least offers no easy answers and is always absorbing to watch. Expand
  4. Stephen
    May 13, 2006
    Pretty fair effort all round from Bier, well cast and acted, filmed with vigour straight from the Danish Dogme Director

See all 9 User Reviews