The Celebration (Festen)
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This Danish comedy drama won the Jury Prize at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. It opens in rural Denmark as family members assemble for the 60th birthday celebration of patriarch Helge (Henning Moritzen). At the family estate are Helge's children: France-based restaurateur Christian (Ulrich Thomsen), whose twin sister killed herself; surviving sister Helene (Paprika Steen); and younger brother Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen), married with three children. At the birthday dinner, the bitter Christian stands to deliver a toast -- but instead makes a startling speech accusing Helge of sexual abuse… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Celebration is founded on a cheeky display of cinephilic self-promotion."
‑ Rob Nelson, City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
"Extraordinary...It is a celebration, not of a sham birthday party, but of the transformative power of truth."
‑ Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly
"It's a fine line to walk, that between comedy and misery, but Vinterberg handles the balancing act magnificently."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"Draws the viewer in with its immediacy, emotional rawness, and elements of surprise, shock and suspense."
‑ Kevin Lally, Film Journal International
"This is a Dogma-95 styled film, where the Danish filmmaker's group manifesto determines the rules for how the film is to be made."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"gripping and devastatingly powerful"
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"A major triumph for the Dogme group, and a success from any point of view."
‑ Jake Euker, F5 (Wichita, KS)
"Watching the picture, it felt more like a cerebral experience, than a normal film."
‑ Dustin Putman,
"showcases excellent acting, a great screenplay, and new innovative cinematography that is exciting and exhausting at the same time"
‑ Ross Anthony, Hollywood Report Card
"Best of the 'Dogme' fims, which isn't saying much, but there you go."
‑ Gregory Weinkauf, New Times
"Pungent family drama, but thuddingly self-serious and wildly overpraised."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"The Celebration is among one of the finest films ever made."
‑ David N. Butterworth,
"Vinterberg, while successfully holding his viewer's attention and moving his tale along with dispatch, doesn't here justify the unpleasantness with fresh insight."
‑ Arthur Lazere,
More reviews for The Celebration (Festen) on Rotten Tomatoes