Minor Mishaps

Minor Mishaps


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

With the death of a matriarch, families are flung together, like kittens in a bag. Exposed at such an intimate level, they feel naked together. The shock can be fearsome, or funny.

Annette Olesen's Danish ensemble is humane, rather than hilarious. Marriages appear transparent and troubled. The workaholic son (Henrik Prip) has a wife, who can't take it anymore. The brother-in-law (Jesper Christensen) walks out on his spouse, after she admits to a one-night-stand, being so desperate for affection. The artist daughter (Jannie Faurschou) moves into a new apartment with a lesbian friend. The 29-year-old younger daughter (Maria Wurgler Rich), who missed the last train to Loony Toons, stays with her dad (Jorgen Kiil), while starting a tentative relationship with an overweight, pony-tailed fellow worker at the health centre.

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The word "dysfunction" leaps to mind, except that's too easy. These are genuine people, struggling with prejudice, fear, guilt and grief. Practically always they get it wrong, but that's normal within families. The artist suspects her sister of being too close to their father, who behaves as if his first childhood never ended.

"Let's not talk about death," he waffles. "Let's talk about minor mishaps."

The film sits comfortably in the scandal scarred category of all-human-life-is-here. The performances are an inspiration, especially from Rich, who conveys the uncertainty of innocence in a predatory world.

There is a depth of understanding lying inches beneath the surface of emotional mayhem. The trick is to find it, without panicking.

Reviewed on: 18 Sep 2002
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Ensemble comedy centring on a family coming to terms with grief.
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Director: Annette K Olesen

Writer: Kim Fupz Aakeson

Starring: Jorgen Kiil, Maria Wurgler Rich, Jannie Faurschou, Henrik Prip, Jesper Christensen

Year: 2002

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Denmark


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