A prize winning Swedish film called “Force Majeure” is on track to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film.
But our critic gives it a mixed review.
Here's Terry's Take.
“Force Majeure” is a legal term that refers to an event that is unexpected and uncontrollable.
In this movie, that event is the threat of an avalanche followed by a man's panicked reaction to it.
As a movie, “Force Majeure” explores what happens after this man runs away, leaving his wife and two children in harm's way.
How can his family not be really upset with him?
It's a rich subject with lots of interesting implications, but the movie itself is pretentious and very slow.
Photographer: I make a beauty picture of you together. C'mon.
The Swedish couple and their two kids on a ski trip in the French Alps look like an ideal family.
Ebba: We're here because Tomas has been working too much, so now he has five days to focus on his family.
To keep conditions safe, the resort where they're staying regularly sets off controlled avalanches.
But as the family has lunch on their first day, one of those avalanches looks like it may crash right into the restaurant. As the apparent danger increases, Tomas runs away leaving his wife and kids behind.
A minute and a half later, when the threat is over, he comes back to the table.
Nobody says a word to him about what he did but later when the couple is dining with friends, the wife brings it up.
Ebba: He got so scared that he ran away from the table.
Tomas: What? No, I did not.
It's bad enough that Tomas ran away from the table, but that he won't own up to it is really too much for his wife.
Ebba: So now I have a problem. Here we are in this fancy hotel and I'm not happy. It's no good. I don't like it here.
Tomas eventually admits what he did and says he was a victim of his own instincts, of feelings he couldn't control. But where does that leave his relationship with his wife and kids?
Of course, we all have animal instincts and impulses we can't control, but how do we manage to accept that in each other and ourselves.
“Force Majeure” is thought provoking, but it also feels way too heavy and slow. Even an art film should be more audience friendly than this.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org