When In a Better World took the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for 2010, it counted as a mild upset… but only because the movie hadn't opened in the United States yet. Anybody who actually sees the film won't be at all surprised at its acclaim, and this emotional powerhouse is nothing if not exactly the kind of movie that wins Oscars. The subject is ambitious: how eye-for-an-eye violence takes root, whether the setting is a Danish neighborhood or global politics. Two bullied boys are not only fed up with a violent tormentor at school, they're also disgusted with an adult blowhard, whose size does not intimidate them. The father of the weaker boy has tried to set an example by turning the other cheek toward the local creep, a virtue he has perfected after completing his regular medical service in a chaotic African country ruled by warlords who carry out appalling atrocities and then expect medical treatment themselves. Meanwhile, the doctor's estranged wife resists his attempts at reconciliation, while getting to know the other boy's distracted father.
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