I was totally captivated by this film, which has a giant heart and is not afraid to show honest human emotions when dealing with all that life can throw at people. The film starts with a young Danish man in Bombay (Mads Mikkelsen) feeding street orphans, and we find out that he runs a small orphanage that needs more funding. He returns to Denmark to meet with a possible corporate donor (Rolf Lassgård), who invites him to his daughter's wedding the next day, saying they'll meet for a decision on the project the day after that. At the wedding, unexpected events occur that turn his life upside down.
This story has many surprising turns, so its hard to mention any more without spoiling some for the audience. Suffice to say that director Susanne Bier is a master at both plot subtleties and in showing human emotions honestly and openly. This is made possible by a super cast, all of whom were terrific. Rolf Lassgård as the CEO, is totally believable and won one best actor award; Mads, in the lead as Jacob, also won a best actor award. The CEO's wife, Helene, a very complex character, was brilliantly played by Sidse Babett Knudsen (photo left) and won two international awards; and young Stine Fisher Christensen (photo rt), who played their daughter Anna, the bride, was also brilliant in a very demanding and emotional part, and she also won two int'l awards for supporting actress. The film itself was nominated for 25 awards, including a foreign language film Oscar®, and it won 9 international awards. The awards page at IMDB
This is quite simply one of the best films ever directed by a female director, up there (for me) with Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay!, and Lena Wertmuller's Seven Beauties, but the acting, editing, and cinematography are better than those to me, it has a clarity and technical perfection rarely seen in films. Even the interiors are immaculately designed and lit, and Susanne uses some extreme close-ups that show only one eye, or a pair of lips, yet somehow you can still read the emotion emerging from what little portion of the face is revealed.
I can't imagine why I haven't heard more about this movie, nor how it could have lost the Oscar®. Susanne (photo rt), also directed The One and Only (also a winner of many awards), Brothers (also numerous awards, including five for actress Connie Nielsen), Things We Lost in the Fire, which starred Halle Barry and Benecio del Toro. Susanne undoubtably has many more great films in her future.
Update: Susanne Bier just won an Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film for her 2010 film In a Better World
Here's is Susanne's personal page at Facebook