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Another Round (2020)


Another Round won the 2021 Oscar for best international film. It stars Mads Mikkelsen as Martin, a Danish history teacher. You may know Mads from his role as Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal. The film focuses on Martin and three other teachers at the school who try an experiment to better their lives. Norwegian psychiatrist Finn Skårderud has a theory that everyone is born with 0.05% too low of a BAC, in other words, you should be slightly drunk constantly.

Martin is open to the experiment because his performance at work and at home is not where he wants it to be. His wife works night shifts and they have lost the connection they once had. He has become disinterested in his teaching duties to the point where parents of his students confront him for the lack of preparation the students have for their college qualifying exams. He is mildly depressed and open to a change.

Alcoholism is mentioned multiple times throughout the film. Martin is also given many opportunities to stop drinking or avoid drinking where he must make a choice knowing the consequences. Martin and his three colleagues start their experiment and regularly confer with each other about the effects in all aspects of their lives. It is refreshing to see a group of men openly and honestly discussing feelings and being supportive of each other. I wish this happened in more films, it may help more men become a bit more vulnerable around their friends and gain a wonderful support network.

The film references drinking problems in Denmark, from my trip to Copenhagen I can believe that there is excessive drinking amongst the Danes. The film does a great job of showing how precarious the line is between being a responsible drinker and veering off into problematic drinking. It is a constant struggle for most of us that do drink, even if we won’t admit it to ourselves. I have had many people I care about realize that the balancing act was too hard and stopped drinking entirely. That is a bold step that is incredibly challenging to take. While the film does not focus on abstinence it does show the slippery slope you can avoid by not drinking.

This film is a universal story for any non-dry country. Alcohol serves a role as an antagonist throughout the film. Instead of celebrating drinking like most films, the consequences are explored in a very in-depth way without getting preachy. Mikkelsen does a great job guiding us through this journey and I am glad this won the Oscar. I hope you take the time to see it.

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