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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2017
riveting
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This is a 2004 film from actress and director Paprika Steen originally released as `Lad de små børn'. It stars two of the now much respected stars of Danish TV from `The Killing', that being Sofie Grabol and Mikael Birkkjaer who play husband and wife Britt and Claes Lehman. They have just lost their only child, a daughter, in a car accident. She was killed by an estate agent who was more fond of the bottle than road safety. The couple can not come to terms with the loss and it inevitably puts pressure on them and their friends who can do nothing to stop the downward spiral that grief has taken these two, erstwhile happy people on.

Britt works for Social services with problem parents and soon she finds herself starting to take her work home, and I don't mean the paperwork. Meanwhile Claes starts to find the triviality of being an architect just too much to bear. He is also fixated with the woman who killed his daughter and decides he has to do something to exact revenge. What follows is a harrowing and often difficult watch, it is however remarkable in being able to pull you in despite the subject matter.

I really liked this film, one would be hard pushed to say `enjoyed' as it was so difficult to view at times. The performances were all brilliant, even the bit players were all up to par and beyond in most cases. It is a testament to the director that she managed to get such good performances from all concerned, it is a shame she has only directed two films, but then she is a ruddy good actress in her own right, check her out in `Keep the lights on' from 2012. In Danish and English with very good subtitles, this is one for lovers of the Nordic Noir and those who like a challenging and very rewarding film indeed.
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on 14 February 2012
A moving, powerful film. Deals with some very challenging issues in a more honest way than a lot of mainstream films have done. Gritty, real and compelling.
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on 29 December 2011
Fans of The Killing - Series 2 [DVD] and in particular it's main stars Sofie Gråbøl and Mikael Birkkjær will find this film slightly different from their 2009 work The Killing. Sofie and Mikael play social worker Britt and architect Claes, a married couple in their 30's who have recently lost their 12 year old daughter, their only child. This moving film shows the downward spiral in which they find themselves.
Copenhagen is the setting once again for this story filmed five years before Sofie and Mikael would work on The Killing 2. There are many moving scenes of guilt, angst, betrayal, deceit and loneliness as the couple's difficulties with friends, work, and with each other are explored.
Some of my favourite scenes involve Claes with the Japanese, Claes being flirted with at the estate agents, Britt and her helping hand duties among others.
Apart from one character, Vivi (Lena Endre seen in the Wallander series and Millenium series) who speaks in Swedish, and a short scene involving Claes taking the mick out of some clients (in English), the film is in Danish with English subtitles.
Particularly impressive is Laura Christensen (The Candidate (2008) (Kandidaten) (Region 2) (Import)) who plays struggling mother Malene who is not really supported very well by her boyfriend Ulrik (played by Carsten Bjørnlund - Major Christian Søgaard - The Killing 2). Look out for a very brief appearance by Stine Prætorius (Louise Raben - The Killing 2) working in Claes's office. One of Denmark's finest actors, Lars Brygmann (Labour minister Troels Höxenhaven - Borgen / DI Thomas la Cour - Unit One: Season 1 [DVD]), appears as Britt's boss.
This is probably the last Danish film I'll see this year (hardly any days left!). Since watching The Killing - Series 1 [DVD] [2010] back in January on BBC4, I have seen a quite a few. I've yet to be disappointed!
Birkkjær also appears in BBC4's 2012 offering Borgen - Series 1 [DVD] starting on 7 January.
Enjoy!

The BBFC have classified this film as an 18 and their Consumer Advice statement for it explains that it is because it "Contains strong sexual violence, sex references and racist language".

Three other films I recommend for fans of Sofie and Mikael are Sofie's first ever film from 1986 The Wolf at the Door ( Gauguin, le loup dans le soleil ) ( Oviri ) and a 2005 film with Mikael in the lead role Springet as well as Mikael in Værelse 304 (Room 304) Import (English subtitles) where he stars with Borgen sctress Stine Stengade. Worth a watch!
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VINE VOICEon 5 May 2012
Claes and Britt are a professional couple in their late thirties who are falling apart after the death of their only daughter in a road traffic accident. We meet them initially at a rather dire group group counselling session where they listen in disbelief and growing anger to others' stories of deaths of elderly parents. When the leader suggests they share their story and not to worry because 'we're all the same here', Claes explodes - rightly feeling that the loss of a child is different to that of a parent - and they leave. The incident doesn't bring them any closer together however and this is one of the main themes of the film: how, by not talking about their feelings they make things worse for themselves. And they don't talk, not to each other, not to their friends who are at a loss as to how to cope with them and not to their work colleagues. Both proudly insist they can carry on as normal while in fact acting most unprofessionally and almost destroying their careers.

As well as seeing how the accident affects Claes and Britt and those close to them we also get some insight into the life of the driver who killed their daughter. This person is also broken but the film maker doesn't make us feel particular sympathy for them.

I thought this was a very good portrayal of grief and how it can wreck people's lives if not dealt with properly. I would have given it five stars save for one incident which I felt was unrealistic - won't say more as I don't want to leave a spoiler. On the whole though, a very good film.
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on 16 July 2015
Difficult to watch in parts, as some of Sophie's work is. This wasn't quite up to usual high standards, but that's the risk you take if you are willing to push boundaries and look at challenging parts.
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on 30 March 2017
brill
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on 27 July 2013
This was so stupid in its portrayall. Why on earth was it made. The producer must have had nothing else to create and the script was bloody daft.
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Scandinavian films are more harsch in general, not wrapping things up. This drama about a drunk driver killing a teenager shows the dramatic consequences on others and how each of them deal with those emotions. A lot of psychology and integrity.
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on 19 March 2012
Other reviewers have said enough about the plot, but it basically concerns how two parents react after the death of a beloved teenaged daughter.

I found the whole thing convincing, including some of the stupid, illogical things some of the characters did. That is what people do, after all.

The ending wasn't neat, and certainly not particularly happy - but why should it be? Things rarely are in real life, after all.

If there is a weak point, it is probably the inclusion of the Swedish actress Lena Endre. I don't know why, I just don't think she is a particularly good actress, or a massively bad one, yet she seems to pop up everywhere in Scandi films - and in this, she just seemed to be included to broaden the film's interest, making it saleable in the Swedish market.
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