A Boozy Tale
I made the mistake of watching Another Round and Days of Wine and Roses back to back this weekend. No wonder I’m in a deep funk now. Both films deal with alcoholism, a disease I’ve dealt with with most of my life. Although each movie does a good job showing the joys and pitfalls of alcohol, it was painful seeing the downhill journey of their main characters.
In Days of Wine and Roses, Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick play a husband and wife going through the steps that lead to the bottom of the bottle. They both earned Oscar® nominations for their compelling performances back in 1962.
Now many years later, Another Round has earned two Oscar® nods, one for director Thomas Vinterberg and one for Best International Feature Film. In my opinion actor Mads Mikkelsen also deserves an award nomination for his terrific turn as a boring middle-aged high school teacher who gets involved in an alcohol experiment that goes awry. One of his close-ups shows the saddest face I’ve ever seen on screen. It’s heartbreaking.
Alcohol is a funny thing.
It makes us merry with a zing.
Then takes us down a rabbit hole
and causes some to lose their soul.
“Another Round” shows how this works
when four men act like they are jerks.
“Experimenting” they all say
by drinking more and more each day.
They think this might their life improve.
and for a while they’re in the groove.
They all are teachers. But are they smart?
Rationalizing becomes Art.
Denmark’s Another Round includes some humorous scenes, especially those showing how four friends celebrating Nikolaj’s (Magnus Millang) 40th birthday justify their reckless experiment. Martin (Mikkelsen’s character) knows that everyone – even his wife (Maria Bonnevie) and students – can’t help noticing how boring he’s become. That’s why he agrees to be one of the four participants in this dangerous study.
All four will try to maintain a constant level of alcohol in their bodies, and they promise to record breathalyzer results to make sure everything is “scientific.” It’s clear to us that these four men struggle with deep emotional issues. Will alcohol help them?
Of course, at the beginning each teacher feels more confident and vital and interesting. Martin surprises his students with an entirely new approach to history, and they love it! The three other teachers feel much better also.
Unfortunately, things begin to unravel. For example, Peter (Lars Ranthe), the music teacher, advises a shy student to drink a couple drops of alcohol before taking an important exam; Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), the soccer coach, leaves booze bottles in easily found places; and Martin does a little dance as he enters a faculty meeting.
Speaking of dancing, Mikkelsen gets a chance to show off his talent as a dancer in the last scene. It’s worth waiting for! However, we are not sure what that means.
Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough. – Mark Twain
(Released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and rated “R” by MPAA.)