Ordet (The Word) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ordet (The Word) Reviews

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April 4, 2017
*Spoiler Warning*

Ordet can be slow moving at times. However, if you keep watching it, you will be in for a treat. It can easily suck you in and give you an amazing experience. I'm not sure if I'd call it suspenseful though like I've seen some people do. I think that simply calling it engaging and well-directed is a better description of my experience with this film.

This film centers around the conflict between the Borgen family and the Peterson family. The devout widower Morten Borgen has 3 sons. The first one is named Johannes, who went insane and believes that he is Jesus Christ. His oldest son is named Mikkel, who despite having no faith, is happily married to his wife Inger, who is pregnant, but in poor health. His third son, Anders, is in love with the Peterson's daughter, Anne. However, her father, Peter, refuses Anders proposal as they're not of the same faith. A long night leads to conflict between the 2 families.

The best scene in the film is when Morten tries to convince Peter to let Anders marry Anne. They have to wait for him to finish his prayer meeting with his congregation, and after everyone leaves, Morten and Peter talk alone. Their conversation starts out peaceful and mature at first as Morten raises several good points in hopes of convincing Peter. However, after Peter enrages him in a shocking twist, Morten wants nothing to do with him and he takes Anders and leaves their house. This scene gives the viewer a lot of insight into the character flaws of Peter and it gives the viewer a different impression of him. This scene lingered on with me after viewing the film for that reason.

I also found Inger's pregnancy very disturbing and hard to watch. Even though the doctor's work was covered up by a sheet, I still found it to be a disturbing sequence. This scene was made disturbing by the doctor's facial expressions, and the pain that Inger showed throughout the ordeal. While the doctor operated on her, her house seemed lifeless as the lighting was very dim and their house seemed dull. This scene was also made powerful with the way how Inger's family reacted to her condition. They seemed depressed and worried throughout it. For instance, Morten didn't seem to be effected that much by Johannes' ramblings. He would slowly pace around his house all the while impatiently waiting for the doctor to finish his operation. Occasionally, he would talk to a family member who walked by him, but he seemed pretty lifeless throughout the sequence. This sequence was slow, and it took up a pretty big portion of the film. However, I wasn't bored by it, because of director Carl Theodor Dreyer's great directing.

As great and engaging as the film can be at times, it can sometimes be a difficult wait getting to the good scenes, because the movie has pacing issues. These issues are present in its first act where it feels very slow moving and, for the most part, uninteresting, compared to the latter half. There were a couple interesting scenes in the first act such as the opening scene, but those scenes were very few and far in between. Some people complained that the first part of the film was boring. However, I wouldn't say that I was bored by it. It just made me grow impatient as I wanted to get to the good parts.

Based on the reviews I've read of this film, I know that I'm in the vast minority here, but my other issue with the film is with its ending. I found it to be the weakest part of the film. Now, credit where credit is due, it was pretty surprising. Also, it gives a bit of ambiguity to Johannes' character. That's what I liked about its ending. As a whole, however, it didn't do much for me. I really hate the fake-death cliché that so many movies do. I like films which aren't afraid of having a tragic ending much more. On my first viewing of the film, I found Inger's 'death' to be surprising and sad. However, on my 2nd viewing, the pregnancy sequence didn't have that much of an impact on me as I already knew that she would survive. If the film would have had a tragic ending instead, that scene would've likely effected me a lot more.

In conclusion, this was a well-made film that had the power to engage me quite a lot with Dreyer's great direction and writing. Dreyer is clearly a talented director as is evident with this film. Even though this film had a few flaws, I'm still interested in checking out more of Dreyer's films, because several of them made it onto Sight & Sounds' "Greatest Films of All Time" list in 2012. I'll make sure to check some of them out in the future.
March 30, 2017
Both a questionable commentary on Christian apostasy and an emotional look at family and community, this is all-in-all a powerful faith-based drama.
½ March 22, 2017
Carl Theodor Dreyer's Ordet (1955) based on Kaj Munk's play by the same name (first performed in 1932) is a profound exploration of the problem of faith in the world. One can easily see some of the terrible derivatives it created in the likes of the talentless buffoon Lars von Trier. Although it doesn't compare to Dreyer's stunning masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc, it contains enormous intellectual and emotional depth and the permutations of the notion of faith that it explores in contemporary Protestantism is interesting (considering what a terribly dull subject that is) and Dreyer's choice to stage the miraculous, in a world and a time where it seems like complete madness (Birgitte Federspiel as Inger, says at one point that she believes that miracles happen in small, cumulative ways, almost secretly or invisibly, none of the spectacular showmanship of the bible), in his typical austere, understated way, is deeply moving and beautiful to watch. It is hard to believe that a man who doesn't really believe directed an entire two hours film on the power of faith and its capacity to heal!
March 22, 2017
Carl Theodor Dreyer's Ordet (1955) based on Kaj Munk's play by the same name (first performed in 1932) is a profound exploration of the problem of faith in the world. One can easily see some of the terrible derivatives it created in the likes of the talentless buffoon Lars von Trier. Although it doesn't compare to Dreyer's stunning masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc, it contains enormous intellectual and emotional depth and the permutations of the notion of faith that it explores in contemporary Protestantism is interesting (considering what a terribly dull subject that is) and Dreyer's choice to stage the miraculous, in a world and a time where it seems like complete madness (Birgitte Federspiel as Inger, says at one point that she believes that miracles happen in small, cumulative ways, almost secretly or invisibly, none of the spectacular showmanship of the bible), in his typical austere, understated way, is deeply moving and beautiful to watch. It is hard to believe that a man who doesn't really believe directed an entire two hours film on the power of faith and its capacity to heal!
March 4, 2017
Few films can be said to actually have the power to change your life, but this one definitely qualifies. I've never seen a film quite like this one. It demands to be seen at least twice. Made by master filmmaker Carl Theodore Dreyer, it was the only film he made in the fifties and has a 100% critics approval rating.
½ January 30, 2017
Ordet is a solid, but disappointing film. The direction from Carl Theodor Dreyer is expectedly strong, the cinematography is inspired with some of the shots being quite intriguing and the film is clever and very interesting, but because it was so slow paced and lacked focus, it never utilized its premise particularly well and ended up being more of an intriguing than a truly spiritual experience.
December 29, 2016
Heavy masterpiece of the expert director Dreyer. It heavily contemplates on the the themes of faith and religion, secular and religious, and the problems of inner faith. And the composition of the shot is just mind-blowing. It makes you wonder how meticulously the director lines up and executes his conception of the shot.
½ November 9, 2016
This film by Carl Theodor Dryer was quite an experience for me. It is examines the faith of a man and his 3 grown sons whose faith goes from the extreme to the non-existent. Set in 1925, the small family enter a crisis when the wife of the eldest son, the non-believer, goes into labour and experiences complications. Not being religious myself, I didn't expect the story to have much impact for me, but it is so well written and told, that it's impossible not to get caught-up in it. This is considered one of Dryer's masterpieces, and I can see why. Regardless of religious beliefs, I can think any serious film fan can get something from this film!
½ November 7, 2016
Phenomenally brilliant.
October 7, 2016
A deeply religious elderly farmer has three sons, one wants to marry a girl from a different denomination, one has no faith and the other believes that he is Jesus Christ risen again. The result is an interesting study of religious faith and conflict.

Each shot in the film was deliberately set up, lit and prepared in such a way that they look like painting compositions. Everything is very sparse and minimal. The subject matter isn't something that I would normally be drawn to but it is well worth a watch. It ranks in the top 25 of both the directors and critics poll of the greatest films of all time.
August 3, 2016
Preachy with its symbolism, but a sermon well worth hearing. Masterfully shot and acted. Very good film. CDW
July 21, 2016
Simple humanity is really complex stuff. Ordet is a patient yet potent look at faith and family that is skeptical and affirming all at once. Johannes, the mentally disturbed yet oddly prophetic brother who thinks he's the reincarnation of Christ, is one of the most phenomenal characters ever; funny yet piercingly perceptive of hypocritical Christianity. And the ending is a supremely difficult punch to the gut that had me perplexed for days.
½ June 12, 2016
faith vs. religion u descide who wins
June 12, 2016
Very well made. A bit slow, but so well written, acted and directed. The religious themes were thought provoking as well.
May 7, 2016
Ordet is an extraordinary, phenomenal masterpiece; it is mesmerizing in its drama and spirituality and for entire sections, my eyes never left the screen.
December 20, 2015
Does more to make you understand faith than any other film. This picture is indeed slow and difficult to watch, building to a draining, horrific climax...but the final minutes are an unforgettable experience. Without giving anything away, a family devastated by enormous loss is asked to believe in something truly insane. Nothing, not logic nor the grim story we've witnessed up to this point, gives them any concrete reason to do so. But there is one person who does, and there's nothing like those final moments anywhere else in cinema.
April 5, 2015
A movie has more lasting impact if it shuns effort to be understood and to just allow the viewers to ask their personal questions -- in this case, the level of our faith.
While it was slow at first, the movie had me when the two old fathers had their discourse on the difference of their Christian faiths -- one believes that the faith is about the warmth of life; the other looks forward to coldness of death. I on the other hand believe that faith is a personal, special, and individual gift from God so that one cannot impose his to the other. I was oscillating from one side of the argument to the other as both have points which are also part of what I believe in.
And when the movie piles up surprises upon surprises (that are not just whimsical; they also made me ask more questions), there goes that finale that is brave enough in the filmmakers' part -- yet so powerful that it made ask myself -- how big can ever my faith be.
March 14, 2015
I've been wanting to see this movie my whole life. Yet I only heard of it recently. What I mean by that is, everything that's manifested in this movie is just what I've always been waited for a filmmaker to show me, without necessarily even knowing it. I can't put it into words. Einstein once said that while Beethoven "created" music, Mozart's music "was so pure, that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered." That is how I look at 'Ordet.' It stirs something in me that's been yearning to be sated; to be shown something so beautiful & so pure... and it was Dreyer who finally did it; and long before I was born! Everybody has that once in a lifetime movie that one feels so intimately & interminably connected with, it almost seems as though it was made just for them. Brian Wilson said that he wanted to write music that people prayed to. In a similar way, Carl Dreyer created something that seems more a religious experience than a form of entertainment. It may or may not meet everyone's tastes, but that is how I feel about this film. It's miraculous.

*Note- The Flixster review confuses two of the sons, Anders & Mikkel.
February 17, 2015
Uma obra vida espiritual e os conflitos terrenos e celestes desejos que não denigrem ou simplificão a religião, apesar da natureza falivel dos personagens e da instituição da própria religião.
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