In A Better World (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

In A Better World (2011)



Critic Consensus: In a Better World is a sumptuous melodrama that tackles some rather difficult existential and human themes.

In A Better World Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Anton is a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark, and his work at an African refugee camp. In these two very different worlds, he and his family are faced with conflicts that lead them to difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness. Anton and his wife Marianne, who have two young sons, are separated and struggling with the possibility of divorce. Their older, ten-year-old son Elias is being bullied at school, until he is defended by Christian, a new boy who has just moved from London with his father, Claus. Christian‟s mother recently lost her battle with cancer, and Christian is greatly troubled by her death. Elias and Christian quickly form a strong bond, but when Christian involves Elias in a dangerous act of revenge with potentially tragic consequences, their friendship is tested and lives are put in danger. Ultimately, it is their parents who are left to help them come to terms with the complexity of human emotions, pain and empathy. -- (C) Sony Pictures Classicsmore
Rating: R (for violent and disturbing content some involving preteens, and for language)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Anders Thomas Jensen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 30, 2011
Box Office: $1.0M
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


Trine Dyrholm
as Marianne
Bodil Jørgensen
as Headmaster
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for In A Better World

Critic Reviews for In A Better World

All Critics (116) | Top Critics (33)

True, the resolutions on offer seem conventionally pat, yet the tough questions stay with you in an absorbing drama which pushes the viewer's buttons with effective intelligence.

Full Review… | August 17, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Although this being a film by Susanne Bier, there is unfortunately a good measure of unneeded melodrama stirred in to trivialize the very important thematic concerns.

Full Review… | October 7, 2015
Critic's Notebook

There's little flash or surprise in Bier's latest well-shot film, but plenty of substance.

Full Review… | August 15, 2013
The Playlist

A most deserving Oscar winner and a film that could provoke discussion anywhere it is shown, anywhere people of any age are being bullied

Full Review… | January 11, 2013
Tribune News Service

Film defies conventional expectations about biblical notions of retribution, even as it initially prepares you to accept them. A truly complex work of art.

Full Review… | March 11, 2012

Un estupendo drama contemporáneo sobre algunos de los conflictos más básicos que acechan a hombres y mujeres de bien en cualquier rincón del mundo.

Full Review… | November 27, 2011
Uruguay Total

Audience Reviews for In A Better World

A challenging meditation on how hurt-induced revenge and the intention of getting rid of a menace can overlap when someone looks for a motive to get even. It would have been much better, however, if it did not move its focus to a minor subject (in comparison) in the third act.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Two boys attempt to define masculinity in response to their respective family dramas.
This Danish film is oddly both ambitious and contained. Its plot centers around only two families, one wracked by divorce, the other by death, but as the two male children of these families mature, we see that they're struggling with deep and difficult questions. What constitutes "being a man?" What examples do fathers and mothers provide their kids? Where is the line between being a disciplinarian and being a child's friend? What are parents' roles in preventing violence? These are ambitious ethical questions the plot brings up, but as a result of the film's reach philosophically, the plot starts to suffer when each of the film's conflicts resolve too conveniently.
Overall, this is a fine, ambitious, and interesting film until its pat conclusion.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Susanne Bier is one of the greatest directors ever. Simple as that. Her films deal with issues, but always with a fresh perspective. In A Better World has a young boy called Christian who has just lost his mother, return to Denmark. He joins a new school where he soon makes friends with a boy who is being bullied. Christian allows his anger to take hold, and events soon spiral out of control. The theme of bullying may seem like something best saved for after school specials, but Bier shows bullying in all its forms, from the playground, to grown ups, to African warlords. Questioning anger, revenge, and human rights, makes this a multi-layered film which is just begging for discussion. The performances are magnificent across the board and each character has a very well structured arc. With so much going on it would be easy for the film to trip over itself, but it never does. Touching, inspirational, and quite possibly life changing. In A Better World could honestly make the world a better place.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

In A Better World Quotes

– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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