In A Better World


In A Better World

Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 120

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,164


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.9/5

You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. To read more about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes, please check out our new RT Product Blog here.

Want to See

Add Rating
My Rating    

In A Better World 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 Classics

Watch it now


News & Interviews for In A Better World

Critic Reviews for In A Better World

All Critics (120) | Top Critics (35)

  • I wished I liked it more. But, for all its good points, this film is a high-concept contrivance of the sort Bier turns out easily, and looks like a faintly preposterous cine-soap opera for haemophiliac-hearted liberals.

    Aug 18, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Aug 17, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Susanne Bier's latest meditation on grief and the boundaries of family -- which won this year's foreign-film Oscar -- is a tough piece of work, subtle in some ways, obvious in others, viscerally affecting throughout.

    Jun 3, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Simply put, this would be a better world if there were more films like In a Better World.

    May 6, 2011 | Rating: A+ | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • Despite some weaknesses as both a film and a parable, "In a Better World" is a potent provocation.

    May 6, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • An ethically ambitious, morally thoughtful - and deeply vexing - drama about the fragility of civil order and the menace of the lawless.

    Apr 29, 2011 | Rating: 3/4

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 could have been much better, though, had it not moved its focus to a minor subject (in comparison) in the third act.

Carlos Magalhães
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
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
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

A awesome film about a doctor who lives in Denmark but spends most of his life in Africa at a refugee camp. We see his life at home, his son and wife's dealing with life and him being gone and him fighting the local war lord who is raiding villages and taking children for his own little military. 4 Stars. 6-19-12

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

In A Better World Quotes

News & Features