User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 4 out of 19

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  1. Aug 13, 2013
    9
    Without being melodramatic or overbearing, "Oslo, August 31st" is a heart-rending film about regret, and the difficulty in forgetting ones past in order to hope for a better future. "Oslo, August 31st" is an impressive adaptation that is wonderfully acted and directed a tender and subtle portrait of a tortured soul.

    This brilliantly directed second feature from Joachim Trier "Reprise"
    (2009), takes place over the course of one day, following Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) as he reaches the end of his time spent at a drug rehab clinic. Some people are their own worst enemy, and Anders is exactly that person. His inability to connect with others leads to a bleak, empty existence. After a private suicide attempt, he insists in his support group that he's fine. The next day he goes to Oslo for a job interview, spending the majority of his day meeting people from his past.

    The film follows Anders throughout the day with extended conversations with various people that tell us as much about Anders, as they do about themselves. Everything we learn about Anders and his past is only through these interactions, never resorting to flashbacks. Anders simultaneously displays a condescending contempt and deep envy. His friends now lead happy lives, even if it seems everyone has become much more domesticated and boring even as their responsibilities begin to amass. Anders has his freedom but his freedom feels completely empty and aimless.

    In the best scene in the film, Anders sits alone at a coffee shop, taking in all the conversations around him. Everyone else is talking about their troubles, their aspirations, or their everyday routines. In contrast, Anders has none of these things. No real worries, no real direction in life. He's adrift, completely lost, and alone.

    Lie's central performance as Anders is truly remarkable, a self-confessed "spoilt brat who up," his actions are not always sympathetic, but every little knock he takes over the course of the film has a cumulative effect. He's aided enormously by Trier's smart and analytical screenplay, as are the rest of the uniformly excellent cast.

    It's an emotionally draining experience, and Anders' determinedly pessimistic outlook and inability to escape his past is as saddening as it is inevitable. Trier has carefully crafted a portrait of an addict, and the pressures of modern life with outstanding technical assurance. It's a sad story, but beautifully told.
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  2. May 3, 2013
    9
    Quiet yet powerful, uneventful yet overwhelming. Joachim Trier is a masterful observant of the subtleties that make the most profound impact and whispers them in our ears thus making them more personal.
  3. Feb 23, 2013
    2
    I'm shocked that this film received such high praise from critics. I found it overly bleak and lacking any real emotional depth, a shallow wallowing in exististential nihilism. This film essentially says, "Life is meaningless." If you're hesitant about suicide, this little cinematic ray of sunshine may provide the push you need to finally go through with it. And I now have absolutely no desire to visit Oslo, Norway, because evidently it is the most depressing place on Earth. Expand
  4. Dec 22, 2012
    8
    A gritty, realistic drama centered around a day in the life of a recovering drug addict. The film centers around a man named Anders who is released from rehab for one day in order to go for a job interview. The heart of this movie centers around his relationships and how they relate to his substance abuse. Each new character we encounter, and some that we only hear about, gives us a glimpse into Anders joys, pains, and ultimately his soul. This gives us a very profound look into what can drive addiction while never letting Anders off the hook for his life choices. It is very rare to see a film tackle this tough topic in such a realistic way, and thus makes this a great cinematic experience. The director also does a tremendous job of giving us a sense of place in this film, there are many shots that are breathtaking and add to the enjoyment of this movie. I can not recommend this film strongly enough. Expand
  5. May 26, 2012
    8
    Intelligent filmmaking, a great performance and some brilliant moments add up to make this a great character study, and more than make up for the thin (and maybe even trite) story.
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 30, 2012
    83
    The slowness and stillness in the film are, actually, a slow boil, and in Lie's taciturnity there is pain and even horror.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 30, 2012
    100
    The surface of Oslo, August 31st is as cool and crystalline as a Scandinavian lake, but at its core is a benevolence for the life we all share and tears for the man who can no longer share in it.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 29, 2012
    100
    Oslo, August 31st is quietly, profoundly, one of the most observant and sympathetic films I've seen.