Force Majeure Subtle Mindjob Discussed and Recommended

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Force Majeure subtle mindjob Discussed and Recommended. First, kudos and shout out to Matthew over on substack for reminding me of this great movie. I originally watched Downhill with Will Ferrell and then wrote a thing here about it, and then I went on to watch Force Majeure. But, I swear to you, my wordpress instance is eating itself. Too many words, and the site is crumpling in on itself. Or, the only other alternative?? I’m going insane. And, actually, the odds guys in Vegas currently have the split at 80% insane, 20% tech issues. So, just keep that in mind as we go forward here… you might be listening to a head case trying to explain this movie to you. Maybe you should be reevaluating your life choices that brought you to this particular spot in your life. Just saying.

ANYWAY, I was over at Matthew’s cool substack site (link again for the slower among us) and was reminded of this really cool, super subtle film… and I commented like a thousand words on his post, and realized I probably should do my own write up, and stop weighing down his poor site! haha. So if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a cool, nuanced French movie about inner-family relations, and the really small fissures in a marriage that mean everything.

Let’s get to it, shall we? But please do not continue reading any further if you haven’t seen the movie. I gotta say, it drives me crazy that some of you do this. LIKE WHY? 1) you ruin an amazing movie, 2) you don’t grapple with the content yourself first hand, and 3) you are being lazy. You should honestly give yourself a stern talking to at this point. I’m even going to give you links to places you can watch the movie with a single click:

Force Majeure Quick Walkthrough

Swedes Tomas and Ebba and their children are going skiing. French Alps. Luxury resort. It’s going to be perfect. But while there, a controlled explosion starts an avalanche. K. I mean, that’s what they are supposed to do. When skiing here in Colorado (heck or in Europe) if you aren’t hearing the controlled explosions going off throughout the day, you probably need to move along, as you probably aren’t safe. But when the avalanche starts picking up steam, and the CG here is really quite impressive, as this thing looks like a very real, and very powerful force of nature to be reckoned with.

Well, Tomas, instead of diving on his kids and wife… he runs for it. Thankfully, the deck is just covered in powder, and everyone is just fine. No big deal. All’s good. So that’s the last we will hear about that lucky encounter. No, of course not. This one, innocent bit of chaos is the foundation… or better yet, the lack of foundation – the destabilizing force that tosses these players into a disarray.

Later, Ebba’s friends and an American guest share dinner together. Ebba recounts the terror of the avalanche encounter and then tells about how Tomas ran away. WAIT, WHATTT? No, no no no… I didn’t run away missy! It’s physically impossible to run in ski boots. Have you tried this feat? Yeah no, impossible. Which, in turn, pisses Ebba off. Rightfully. And the couple, instead of apologizing, or de-escalating, they dig in. Something is going on here because the original event isn’t worth all of this to do. A simple, “Yeah, wow, I chickened out… didn’t I?? That was embarrassing. How stupid of me.” “Oh, no worries Tomas… we all have our moments!” Voila.

The next day Ebba skis by herself and hangs out with a friend who is mid-affair with another guy. Ebba digs in with her friend about her “open-relationship” with her husband, and she tries to see the error of her ways. But her friend warns her to not argue on this topic… and then she packs up and leaves. Similarly, Mats, a friend of Tomas’s, and his girlfriend Fanny, join Tomas and Ebba for dinner. Wherein Ebba not only throws Tomas in front of her bus, but she backs over him as well, to the absolute horror of Mats and Fanny. Their friends sort of defend Tomas, but then Ebba pulls out Tomas’ recording of the chaos and submits it to the court on behalf of the prosecution.

Force Majeure Subtle Mindjob Discussed and Recommended

(that is some serious pow)

“I get it that you are disappointed in the person that materialized. I get it, I’m disappointed with him too. I hate him so damn much. And I,… I can’t forgive the guy. He’s done other stuff before this too. He has lied, he’s been unfaithful. Yes, he confesses. He cheats when playing games with the kids. He’s so goddamn pathetic. And I can’t live with him any longer. I don’t want to. You aren’t the only victim here, I’m also a victim here. A victim of my own instincts.”

conversation between Tomas and Ebba…

And this is a pivotal moment for me with regard to this movie. It’s this moment that clarifies for me the entire point of this movie. The raison d’etre. (See what I did there? French…) But we’ll get to that in a bit. Then on the final day, as their entire family is heading up the ski lift together, silently, we watch as Ebba starts to communicate her concern about the ever thickening fog. As they are coming down the hill, Ebba gets lost in the fog, and Tomas has to go look for her, and he returns, carrying her back. And as they are all reunited, they smile and laugh, relieved, “WE MADE IT!”

Force Majeure Subtle Mindjob Discussed and Recommended

As the family and their friends leave the resort by bus, down the winding mountain road, Ebba becomes increasingly more concerned about the driver and his abilities (or lack thereof) and she ultimately decides she wants to be let off.

Eventually, all exit the bus except for Ebba’s friend, and the group descends the road on foot. Mats and Fanny are walking apart. Ebba asks Mats to carry Vera. A stranger offers Tomas a cigarette, and initially Tomas declines, but then accepts. Harry asks his father if he smokes — he has not during the entire vacation — and Tomas replies that he does. AH? See? It’s ALL PERFECTLY CLEAR NOW!

Wait. Why Did Force Majeure End THAT Way??

First, what the heck does Force Majeure even mean? Well, it’s a legal term actually. It is a term that means an unforeseeable circumstance that prevents someone from fulfilling a contract. But. Eh? Oh. Yeah. Maybe?

So, I would submit to you that the marriage between Ebba and Tomas was on the rocks even before this high-end ski excursion that starts to spiral them even further downward. By the end we know that at least Tomas anyway, has been having affairs. We know that Ebba is getting advice from friends about what to do, stay or leave. We see the doubt in the between the two characters.

Obviously, when they were first married, they were high on each other, and committed. They were enthused about their relationship, their careers, the kids. Everything was looking up. But then as they start to live life, the chaos of taxes, work, commitments, children, etc., etc., gets more and more intense, they start to deviate from the contract they wrote at the marriage altar. And as more and more unforeseeable exceptions come up, it makes it harder and harder to commit to each other.

Then comes a life-altering moment… an avalanche that Tomas is certain will kill them all… and he runs for his life. It’s the culmination of a million literal disappointments that create one mega-meta-disappointment. He is a failure at this thing called life. He’s selfish. He’s still an immature boy. He’s not grown up one iota. I mean, affairs are one thing… but he cheats while playing games with his children for heaven’s sake! He’s a massive, massive disappointment, not only to his wife, but to himself.

And so he decides to start smoking. Movie ending solved. No. No… that’s irrelevant.

Actually, this movie’s key dilemma is solved by Ebba. In order to walk through her progression though we sort of need to make her the center as opposed to constantly focusing on the utterly selfishly myopic baby Tomas. (I’m really not being too hard on him… I can relate to him, honestly.) When Tomas initially runs, Ebba is sort of wondering if what she saw actually happened. But then she was like, no, that did happen… I’m not making things up here. And worse? He’s not fessing up to being so utterly selfish. Why is that? No, really, why is that? Oh, that’s right, because he’s a prideful bastage, and he needs to get down from this ultra-high-horse of his.

And over the course of this movie, we watch as Ebba is trying to get Tomas to see the light of day, to get him to do the right thing. To get him to see reason. But instead, he is towing this line of … THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE! I CAN’T BE THAT GUY! And yet we all already know that is exactly who he is. As she continues to press, continues to not let this line of truthful reasoning go, we watch as Tomas basically has a come to Jesus meeting. We watching him primal screaming into the Alps, trying to get in touch with his own angst and soul. But ultimately, even though Ebba is pushed by all her friends to loosen up, let it go, she holds her line through to the end.

Or does she?

The Ending of Force Majeure Decoded

I would submit to you that it is actually Ebba that threads the needle here and solves this complicated knot for their whole family. How?? While skiing, the fog rolls in… and Ebba goes “missing.” Tomas tells the kids to stay there, don’t move… and he marches off and comes back, out of the fog, carrying Ebba back to their family. OH, COME ON. Puh-lease. Ebba is smart. She’s clever. And she isn’t attempting to perpetuate a neanderthal in her life, but at the same time, she’s seen that Tomas has (via Force Majeure) defaulted on their marriage… via unforeseen circumstances, has bailed on life, the universe, and everything. The guy was literally screaming wildly throughout their hotel at one point as he declares that he is the bane of his own existence. So what does she do? After realizing that her husband needs saving… that he is the one that needs a knight in shining armor… she goes missing in the fog, only to be ‘saved’ by Tomas. “SAVED.” He’s an idiot for not seeing what she is doing here. She is giving him an overture at restoration.

I do think that some who watch this film might see Ebba as testing Tomas here. Can he be there for her in the future… sort of line of logic. But as far as tests go it’s a pretty lame test, and I just don’t see it. Instead I see that she is playing 4d chess to his checkers and he doesn’t even realize it.

“But… okay, I buy all that, but the bus??” I hear you saying. Random internet denizen, that is a fair question. It could be seen as Ebba’s own real un-mooring after Tomas’ avalanche crumpling. Riding down tight mountain switchbacks, she had a turn of melting… showing the audience that she isn’t any better a person than Tomas. Is it now time for her to have a deep inner-navel-gazing session and realize that she isn’t all that she hopes to be as well? Possibly. That is a very real next chapter for Ebba’s personal philosophical development.


The cigarette is simple. Tomas is saying as he takes a drag that he is done hiding things. He’s done being afraid, and making decisions in the dark. Instead, he will boldly make choices, in full light of his kids, and his wife, that he believes he should do. And he isn’t going to be questioned or second-guessed anymore. But we also get the sense that he will continue with his complex relationship with his wife, in spite of the difficulties and their flaws. That he will commit to her, commit to his kids, and will repentantly make bold decisions.

Quick Final Thanks –

Hey, another quick thanks to Matthew over on the Logbook for his reminder that this movie even exists. It’s so good. So, thanks so much. And he really does have a great list of movies that he is talking about over there everyone… so go check him out. I’ve been enjoying the reads anyway. It’d be fun to do a movie swap sometime if you are up for it Matthew. Alright, love to hear what you all think about the movie – either one, Downhill or Force Majeure – in the comments. Until next time.

Edited by: CY