Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2011 MFF Film #10 - Nothing's All Bad

Denmark, 2010
Danish with English subtitles
Director: Mikkel Munch-Fals

A middle-aged retiree loses her husband and finds the loneliness so unbearable that she tries to engage people who dialed the wrong number on the phone in conversation. A young breast cancer survivor who loses a breast and her feelings of self-worth and sexuality. A man who loses his family because he suffers from a crippling sexual dysfunction that makes him expose himself in public. A teenager who sells himself to anyone who will pay. All of the main characters of Nothing's All Bad find their lives intersect in sometimes awkward and unbelievable ways, but they all share one thing in common: the need to be loved.

I absolutely loved Nothing's All Bad, from start to finish. It is very reminiscent of Todd Solondz's 1998 film Happiness, another ensemble piece whose characters' lives intertwine in their pursuit of happiness. Like Solondz, director Mikkel Munch-Fals is not afraid to shock the audience, or have most of the comedic elements of the film be pitch black. Munch-Fals also manages to showcase perhaps the most awkward Christmas celebration ever, but it was brilliantly timed because it gives the viewer a much needed opportunity to laugh, and in the screening I attended, the audience was howling within minutes. For the most part, the cinematography of the film is bright and lush, which provides a jarring contrast to the film's deep subjects and dark themes.

There are not enough good things I can say about Nothing's All Bad, but there's very little I'm choosing to say because the unraveling of the story is so brilliant that I don't want to give any hints or spoilers. Munch-Fals' screenplay is clever, the lead performances were outstanding and the entire film was completely absorbing and compelling. Having said that, Nothing's All Bad is very provocative and sometimes sexually graphic, which, coupled with its dark tone, is not exactly for a mainstream audience. Though not for everyone, Nothing's All Bad is outstanding and I have no hesitation giving it my highest rating.

MFF Ballot Rating: 5 out of 5

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