"The Hunt": Kids Say the Damningest Things

The Hunt Oh, kids. You can't believe everything they say, but when they imply that they've been touched in an inappropriate manner, you have to believe them — even if that implication comes after a psychologist asks them leading questions, and they later admit that they were making it up. That's the impossible bind that nursery-school worker Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) finds himself in in Thomas Vintenberg's autumnally chilly The Hunt, as his community readily believes the false claims of 5-year-old Klara (Annika Wedderkopp) and ostracizes Lucas accordingly. It's essentially a modern reworking of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour, updating the once-shocking accusation of lesbianism with one of the few taboos still on the books. The Hunt weighs the absolute necessity to protect children from predators against the unfortunate tendency of humans to form angry mobs opposing those predators, even if the preying never actually happened. Mikkelsen deservedly won Best Actor at Cannes for his portrayal of the persecuted Lucas, and it's given an extra dimension by the fact that he has an inherently sinister look — there's a reason Mikkelsen is currently playing Hannibal Lecter on television — while young Wedderkopp creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the unmolested child who has no idea why the grownups are making such a big fuss over her simple lie.

 
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