Oslo, August 31st

Critics Consensus

An upfront study of a drug addict confronting his demons, Oslo, August 31st makes this dark journey worthwhile with fantastic directing and equally fantastic acting.



Total Count: 67


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,337
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Movie Info

Thirty-four-year-old Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) is a fortunate, but deeply troubled man battling drug addiction. As part of his rehabilitation program, he is allowed to go into the city for a job interview, but instead uses the opportunity as a way to drift around and revisit old friends. The day grows increasingly difficult as he struggles to overcome personal demons and past ghosts for the chance at love and a new life. -- (C) Official Site


Anders Borchgrevink
as Oystein (Man at Bar)
Hans Olav Brenner
as Thomas (Friend)
Aksel M. Thanke
as Rehab Counselor
Ingrid Olava
as Rebekka (Thomas' Wife)
Tone B. Mostraum
as Tove (Sister's Girlfriend)
Oystein Roger
as David (Editor)
Tone Beate Mostraum
as Tove (Sister's Girlfriend)
Kjaersti Odden Skjeldal
as Mirjam (Woman Hosting Party)
Andreas Braaten
as Karsten (Dealer)
Johanne Kjellevik Ledang
as Johanne (Woman Anders Meets)
Emil Stang Lund
as Calle (Man Hosting Party)
Renate Reinsve
as Petter's Date
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News & Interviews for Oslo, August 31st

Critic Reviews for Oslo, August 31st

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (2)

  • The beauty is in the array of animated faces in Anders' life. And it's in the simple promise and vitality of Anders' face, which serves the film without any regard for being in a film, let alone a tragedy or a poetic vision of darkness and futility.

    Jun 14, 2013 | Full Review…
  • With a predilection for long takes, alternating between tripod setups and handheld camera work that's reflective of Anders' unease, Trier presents life as an unceasingly tepid stream of the mundane -- with an occasional, exquisite pinprick of hope.

    Jan 8, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The movie transpires mostly in quiet, engrossing dialogue scenes, and its austere style shares a good deal in common with the protagonist, who seems both opaque and completely exposed.

    Aug 31, 2012 | Full Review…
  • [Displays] an invigoratingly acute understanding of the psychology of insecurity, longing, defensiveness and inward-turning rage.

    Aug 30, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • "Oslo, August 31st" is quietly, profoundly, one of the most observant and sympathetic films I've seen.

    Aug 30, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • A coolly observed yet boundlessly compassionate day in the life of a recovering drug addict, "Oslo, August 31st" breaks your heart many times over.

    Aug 29, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Oslo, August 31st

  • Oct 05, 2015
    Oslo, 8/31 is both a character sketch and a social drama (and in that aspect it raises questions rather than delivers a message). The film begins strong and then fades, as other reviewers have noted. I put that mostly down to the script as the acting and directing are solid-to-excellent throughout. (Love how the sound mix captures the buzz of city life.) Would recommend to lovers of film, those able to have any kind of pathos for an arrogant addict, or those interested in looking at things from a psychological/social standpoint. Others are likely to find Oslo, 8/31 emotionally unsatisfying.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2014
    "Oslo, August 31st" starts on the day before, as Anders(Anders Danielsen Lie) wakes up next to Malin(Malin Crepin). After which he goes for a walk before trying to drown himself. When that does not take, he goes back to the recovery house where he has been staying to get cleaned up and put on his dress sneakers for a job interview that day. Before which, he meets with Thomas(Hans Olav Brenner) and Rebecca(Ingrid Olava), two of Anders' friends from his party days. "Oslo, August 31st" is a downbeat character study of somebody who has self-medicated for his depression and now finds that life has passed him by, with him not being the only one in that precarious position. The reality is that it is not over and that he can turn it around, even if he has blown his original advantages. The question remains how much he may want to without his ex-girlfriend Iselin. The movie remains ambiguous about whether the breakup caused his current extreme behavior or whether the behavior drove Iselin thousands of miles away. Just keep in mind that Anders' sister is not currently talking to him, either.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2013
    <i>"If someone wants to destroy himself, society should allow him to do so."</i> Opening with a Resnais perspective about the entrails of a city and its inhabitants, developing the story with a Moodysson-like minimalist and introspective style, and concluding with an Antonioni fashion, <i>Oslo, 31. august</i> is a depressing character study of a man's weaknesses and his incapability to cope with a society that has condemned him so much for reasons that we are never mentioned so that we do not have any moral or judgmental bias beforehand. Human hipocrisy is endless. Man thinks he is the perfect juror of the world, even assigning degrees of seriousness to immoral acts, but forgets about his own faults, like if one particular act could be condemned more than another. Anders is a man with an addiction. Either it was his addiction or his personality (most probably both) the ones that caused negative repercussions on the lives of those closest to him. Some decidions taken during his evening leave were driven by emotions rather than carefully premeditated; however, his main intentions are honorable no less than they are important. Few people are capable of going through an addiction; surprisingly enough (hear this), even less people are brave enough to look at themselves in the mirror, accept their condition and face the ghosts of their pasts in order to make ammends and fix their mistakes. The ending is impactful just as it is fair; maybe because we are used to a satisfying resolution that ties all loose ends, we are afraid of leaving the theater or walking away from our chair with a negative feeling, but that's life. Just when I was an inch away from rating this half a star or maybe even a full star lower than a "perfect score" because the film had left so many emotional bonds and past situations to our imagination so that empathizing with the feelings of the main character became a more difficult task, the ending clarified all doubts for me: They don't matter. He is a human being after all. It is in the final 6-minute shot in which we know him even better than the rest of the movie had allowed us to do. 97/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 11, 2013
    The sober rationality of the young Norwegian intellectual classes provides a perfectly blank canvas on which to paint the conversely complex neuroses of the anti-hero, Anders. Anders is an intelligent and gifted opinionist and writer, but his addiction has left him riddled with insecurity. The film focuses on the most pivotal moment of this young man's life as he's tragically stuck between recovery and regression: that moment is both sprinkled with glimmers of hope and drenched in melancholia. Anders' contradiction is the eternal paradox of the addict, and perhaps Trier is presenting it as an allegory of the modern human condition. Anders Danielsen Lie gives an incredible performance as the enigmatic hero and the acting throughout is consistently authentic, convincing and engrossing. The soft-focus cinematography (Jakob Ihre) works well with a particularly engaging sound design which, along with very conscious direction, editing and general production design, makes for technically masterful cinema with an aesthetic that is both selectively minimal and enjoyably rich. Oslo is a tragedy. Its simple, melancholic tone and metropolitan landscapes make the film undeniably reminiscent of the French New Wave - think Hiroshima Mon Amour in present day Oslo. The film is minimal and stylized, presenting social realism in an artistic form without losing any of its dramatic potency to surrealism. Utterly convincing and captivating, it's a shame this film hasn't made more noise because it certainly deserves your attention.
    Jonathan H Super Reviewer

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