In a Better World

This Danish movie tells the tale of two fathers with jobs that require a lot of travel, and their 11-year old sons, who become friends at school.  One kid is being bullied at school.  The other kid beats up the bully — problem solved.  Then the bullied kid’s father gets pushed around by a lout, and the other kid decides that the father needs to fight back too.  The father disagrees — he doesn’t believe in violent solutions.  The father is hardly a coward, though  — his “overseas” work is providing ER services in a warlord-infested part of Africa.  So the kid decided he’ll get even with the adult bully himself.

I would imagine that every parent of a bullied child has faced this issue — how to explain to your child that the solutions that work in the 4th grade aren’t the same solutions that will work in the adult world.  That’s the central issue of this movie, and it’s handled very well.

The film won the Oscar for best foreign film in 2010, and seems to have had a US theatrical release of about 2 weeks.  That’s too bad — this is a fine film, which deserves a bigger audience.  And now, with Netflix, it can have one.

Note that although two of the protagonists in this film are 11 years old, this is not really a children’s film.  It’s fine for thoughtful 12-year olds, though — in fact, it’s a good film to watch together with your kids.

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