Critic’s Pick: Upheaval in family dynamics in the astute ‘Force Majeure’

‘Force Majeure’
A scene from “Force Majeure.”
(Magnolia Pictures)
Los Angeles Times Movie Critic

An unexpected success at Cannes and now the film of the moment in Los Angeles and New York, “Force Majeure” is the movie to see and talk about if you want to experience the absolute best of contemporary cinema.

Directed by Ruben Östlund and likely to be a player in the foreign language Oscar race, this shrewd, bitingly comic and psychologically astute Swedish film details how the life of a picture-perfect family changes not because of any catastrophe but because of the threat of one. A possible avalanche and the change in family dynamics that results from the differing reactions of a husband and wife are the heart of the matter. The pernicious effects of gender stereotypes infect everything and lead both partners to question the very basis of their relationship. Filmmaker Östlund knows precisely the effects he’s after. He’s in control at each and every moment, and does he ever know what he’s doing.

Twitter: @KennethTuran

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