Force Majeure is an instant northern European classic.
The smart narrative is similar to that of The Loneliest Planet, where a normal trip is suddenly disrupted by a dangerous incident. As the story progresses, the movie gradually shows its effect on the couple and their marriage. Instead of a convenient dramatic exposition, the ripple is shown through everyday routine. The truth unravels in realistic ways that reflect the sad truth about people and relationships.
Tomas doesn’t want to admit that he abandoned his family in what could have been a catastrophic avalanche, clouding the argument with classic bullshit you would hear from a busted boyfriend or husband – he’s prey to his instincts.
Ebba hesitates to deal with the issue on her own, spilling it out when a third party is present in an attempt to squeeze an admission out of Tomas. His best friend gets caught in the fray as the situation can also apply to him, especially with the fact that he’s divorced and on a ski trip with a woman half his age.
The cast delivers great performances. The acting here looks natural, which makes it all the more affecting and hard to watch. In the beginning, you’ll know that Tomas isn’t exactly a solid patriarch. But Force Majeure is more than just about a cheating husband and a silent suffering wife.
The magnificent montages of the french alps and its well-maintained slopes provide relief from the family drama. Vivaldi’s “Summer” adds a sense of urgency. The camerawork matches the approach of the narrative as it enables the audience to observe the family from a good distance and deconstruct the plot.
Force Majeure delves into the mundane to show the complexities of people and relationships. The movie can be interpreted in different ways.
The avalanche is a metaphor for how the narrative builds and swells, as well as how the relationship of the married couple is forced to a breaking point. Tomas and Ebba crafts an ideal image in front of their kids through established roles, until a defining moment, reveals the cracks in their marriage.
Force Majeure is a family drama, a quasi thriller, and a revealing examination of relationships.
Although its overstretched to fit its plot, Force Majeure's narrative, cinematography and cast make it a thought-provoking piece about relationships.