One of the biggest surprises from the 93rd Academy Awards nominations was the inclusion of Thomas Vinterberg in the Best Director category for his work on Another Round. The Dane’s nomination is in line with recent Best Director nods to foreign auteurs, including those for the filmmakers of Roma, Cold War, and, of course, Parasite. The Academy’s recognition must feel especially validating as the film boasts the honor of being a selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, which forewent any festivities and competition, denying Another Round most of the buzz usually surrounding the French festival. At the Academy Awards, Vinterberg is among fine company with his fellow nominees this year as they represent a historic Best Director field in its representation. While Vinterberg is not favored to win over Chung, Fennell, Fincher, or Nomadland director and frontrunner Zhao, Another Round is a must-watch for anyone embarking on their annual Oscars movie binge, especially as it’s likely to win Best International Feature. The film follows a revelatory Mads Mikkelsen as a high-school teacher, who, along with a few of his fellow teachers, begins regularly drinking throughout the workday. By maintaining a low level of intoxication, they seek to recapture a sense of joy in their lives amidst midlife crises. Like any memorable—or, perhaps more aptly, unmemorable—bender, their experiment starts off well, before eventually nose diving into a regrettable disaster.
Despite the somewhat predictable structure of parts of the film—some comeuppance is naturally expected given the subject matter—Vinterberg relishes in their execution. Another Round does not shy away from the seduction of drinking, its ability to aid in achieving communal connections, and the role it plays in Danish society. While the consequences of functional alcoholism are increasingly felt throughout the course of the runtime, the film refuses to come to easy conclusions or make sweeping condemnations, but instead chooses to portray a much more nuanced and realistic take on its issues. In the teachers’ pursuit of freedom, adventure, and regained self-confidence, the film largely has a lighter tone than most of Vinterberg’s previous work and features many darkly comedic moments. While the easiest way to describe this film is the characters’ drinking, it’s much more concerned with their attempts to escape a state of ennui and lifelessness—life-affirming themes that transcend the specificity of its Danish cultural details. Another Round features brilliant performances, directing worthy of its Oscar nomination, and one of the best film endings in recent years. Another Round is now streaming on Hulu.
Connor Rush is a senior studying Marketing and English.