Force Majeure is the story of a perfect-looking nuclear family and the way they absolutely fall apart on a ski vacation. It’s gripping and, being Eastern European in origin, unutterably bleak. There’s no physical violence on display here, just cringe-inducing emotional cruelty. It’s a film filled with incredibly long scenes of arguments that go round and roud in circles because people just. Will. Not. *******. Let. It. Go. If you know what I mean. These are venal, stupid, arrogant people and it probably sounds like I’m bashing the movie. I’m not; it’s brilliant. It’s a film of bleakness and absolute mercilessness toward its characters. Just when you think someone might be about to show some flicker of human kindness or warmth, the scene takes a turn and someone ends up sobbing in the corner or repeatedly asking someone “What did you mean by that? No, really, what did you mean? You meant something. What did you mean by that?” The film is often darkly comic, or maybe it’s just a return to laughter as something hysterical, a way to release some of the intense emotional pain the movie evokes. It’s not a movie for everyone, I guess; it’s just too damned mean. But as an emotional roller coaster that, yes, leaves you feeling cleansed at the end, it can’t be beat. There was one moment in particular when there was a painfully long argument and it had finally wound down and then one character said, in passing, exactly the wrong thing, exactly the thing to start the whole argument again. I literally grabbed my head and shouted “No.” Right there in the theater. Force Majeure certainly puts you in the moment; it’s an emotional train-wreck you can’t look at or look away from. Great film. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – bleak, dark, merciless story of family unit collapsing on a ski vacation is hilarious, painful and absolutely gripping. 4 stars.