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What We’re Watching: Vinterberg is a master of depressing dramas

The human experience is confusing, it’s unexplainable and unexpected. This uncertainty is at the core of being a human being, that we all know our lives could take a turn in any way possible, and sometimes our circumstances are less than ideal. Along with this, drama is also a core part of human life. 

It’s nearly impossible to avoid drama in life, this core truth is the heart of Thomas Vinterberg’s films. He taps into the dark and dreadful aspects of human life, the more somber side of the human experience. 

Vinterberg’s most famous film, “The Hunt,” is about a man's life falling apart when he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. While the film is originally written in Dutch and was made for a Danish audience, the acting and writing surpasses all of that, creating a devastating film for all audiences. 

Vinterberg expertly uses close-up cinematography and long, drawn-out scenes to display the true horror of the characters, making the audience thankful that they aren’t in the same position.

Even in his less intense films like his 2020 drama “Another Round,” there’s still a story to be told about the human experience and the pain we all go through at some point in our lives. In this film’s case, it focuses on the times life feels monotonous and when it seems like there’s no real point. The main character of the film, Martin, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a man fighting to stay happy in the midst of his routine as a history professor and a father. His friends, whom he meets for drinks one night, tell him about a study that hypothesizes that maintaining a certain blood-alcohol level can make someone happier by default. Then, while conducting the experiment with his friends, his life seemingly gets better, while in reality his drinking is causing more issues just below the surface. 

In both of these films, Vinterberg wants us to assume the position of an outsider looking in, sympathizing and understanding the pain the characters are facing. Vinterberg’s films are a way for people to feel comforted, albeit in an unorthodox manner. The films are meant to present an issue or feeling that all humans feel or experience, and reassure us that it’s simply a part of life. 

While Vinterberg films may be challenging to watch for their intense realism and relatability, I highly recommend sitting through them because they offer a look into the complicated world of human life. His directing style and choices lend themselves to create some of the best dramas of recent years. To get started, consider watching the previously mentioned films, “The Hunt” and “Another Round,” as those are some of his most well-received and in my personal opinion, two of his greatest. However, if you’re left wanting more, also consider watching “The Celebration” and “Far From the Madding Crowd,” because even though they’re not nearly as well-known as the others, they are definitely still worth your time. 

Mia Ashby is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Mia by emailing her at

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