MovieGoer20’s review published on Letterboxd:
I saved what everyone said was the best foreign language film of the year for last for the Oscar nominees. I’ve been meaning to get around to watching this highly praised film but I didn’t when it was popular but once it started getting nominations I knew I would because most people I talked to really liked this film a lot and I thought the story seemed interesting with the idea of teachers drinking on the job to feel good seeming like an interesting idea to portray.
I really dug the story here. I loved how it was an experiment for these teachers trying to feel good and feel inspired at their jobs since they’re in such a big slump with their students and even families. I liked the touch that they documented this like a scientific experiment with different sections and doing a report of it as it goes along which really amused me and enhanced the film with its very interesting story choices. The story is kind of dark but it’s also pretty amusing with how it’s portrayed because chemical dependence is so bad for so many people but it’s portrayed in such a strange and amusing way here that you don’t realize how much this really isn’t good for these teachers even though it’s making them feel good and arguably even better at their job like they said and showed. These four guys were just having a great time together because all of them had great chemistry but especially the legend Mads Mikkelsen. This man just gives his all here and has such a big range here with all of the stuff he’s going through between being a teacher and losing his spark with his wife and family. Mikkelsen is just a gem in this and the way he interacts with his friends is what many of us dream we can be like with our friends because their friendship is all about having a lot of fun even if it means getting wasted together. Thomas Vinterberg’s direction here is just great and his style was very fascinating with how each of the character’s lives is affected by their drinking. Like I said before though Mads Mikkelsen was definitely the highlight and the dynamic with his wife especially was done pretty well especially for the big blowup they have by the climax of the film. Each character having their own post drinking story was great even though one continues to drink after. I will say that the characters do get over the tragedy very fast which was a little bit strange and distracting but I didn’t really care because the ending was fantastic and I loved it. So wholesome to see Mikkelsen celebrating with his students and the ending shot was the best. Simply a wonderful film that deserved its nominations.
Conclusion: This film exceeded my expectations and was definitely the best foreign language film of this year’s nominees. Vinterberg earned his director nomination here because it was so well directed. Loved the story and how everything played out. I might’ve been late to the party on this one but hey better late than never right? Check it out if you haven’t already because it’s really great.