A contemporary Danish family is in crisis after the ageing mother’s (Vigga Bro) sudden death, discovering how unsettling the event turns out to be. John (Jørgen Kiil), Ulla’s husband is an old joker with a heart condition; Eva (Jannie Faurschou), the oldest daughter has lived in self-imposed isolation in the province for years and arrives back on the day of Ulla’s death; Tom (Henrik Prip) has always been the boy in the middle, is now a contractor with marriage problems; Marianne (Maria Rich), the afterthought, has never really left home and Eva considers her strange; Søren (Jesper Christensen), John’s brother and Eva, Tom and Marianne’s uncle lives in the countryside with his wife Hanne (Karen-Lise Mynster), on an invalid pension. Their life will not be the same after Ulla’s death.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A film of subtle, dry and sometimes black humour, relying on dialogue and character, Minor Mishaps begins with compelling portraits of a typical, sometimes dysfunctional family. It avoids predictability, even when faced with the death of a family member. This doesn’t become the usual device for bringing the rest of the family together – at least not in the usual fashion.
It’s more about what happens to their emotional states and connections as relations afterwards, not why they were dysfunctional before. Many scenes work wonderfully well and the tone changes with surprising ease from comedic to dramatic, to tragic and back again. Then again, there are stretches that lose pace and the film droops, only to pick up again.
Maria Rich is marvellously emotional as the younger daughter, Jesper Christensen makes the cuckolded husband a genuinely fascinating character, Karen-Lise Mynster great as the confused, unfaithful wife and Jorgen Kiil is ideal as the old dad with a heart condition. In fact all the cast are outstanding and the dialogue is wonderfully written – and structured. Odd, yes, and certainly not an easily pigeon holed film. If you like exploring characters on screen, this is a satisfying example.
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MINOR MISHAPS (M) Adult themes, low level coarse language
CAST: Jorgen Kiil, Maria Rich, Henrik Prip, Jesper Christensen, Jannie Faurschou, Vigga Bro, Karen-Lise Mynster
PRODUCER: Ib Tardini
DIRECTOR: Annette K. Olesen
SCRIPT: Kim Fupz Aakeson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Morten Soborg
EDITOR: Nicolaj Monberg
MUSIC: Jeppe Kaas
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Trine Padmo Olsen
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Gil Scrine Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Sydney: March 20, 2003; Melbourne: October 23, 2003