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Film: The Hunt
Yes, this is the good guy. Don't let his cheekbones trick you.

Lucas: You and I have to bring everything into the open.
Theo: Lucas, I know her. Why would she lie?...

The Hunt (Jagten) is a 2012 Danish drama directed by Thomas Vinterberg. It's a study of human nature and mass hysteria. Sometimes, humans suck.

It is set in a small, conservative Danish community. It follows Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a well-liked, friendly kindergarten teacher and divorcé whose life has begun to improve. His relationship with his estranged son has bettered, and he has found new love with a co-worker named Nadja. He has his mates to support him, including best friend Theo (Thomas Bolarsen).

However, Theo has a daughter who attends Lucas's kindergarten named Klara, who rapidly develops an unhealthy obsession with Lucas. After she kisses him on the lips during school playtime, Lucas is quick to rebuff her infatuation. In a childish rage, she unwittingly implies to the head teacher, Grethe, that Lucas has sexually abused her.

The lie begins to mutate and grow, with Klara's account quickly spread by gossip. Through paranoia and the fact that kids often repeat what they hear, some of the other children report signs of abuse. Soon enough, the village turns on him, including the vast majority of his friends and co-workers. Because it's Lucas's word against Klara, and the adults believe that there's no way Klara would lie, he is quickly ostracised from the community. The only allies Lucas has are his son, Marcus (Lasse Fogelstrom), and a few friends.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: The film provides an intense situation that is so down to earth that some might find it scarier than most horror films.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: Klara. You can't really hate her because she's a small child and doesn't know what she's saying, but seriously.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Theo realizes that Klara was lying and makes up with Lucas on Christmas. A year later, Lucas is reunited with Marcus and back with Nadja, and he and his son go on the hunt, where he has appeared to have made up with more of his friends. But tensions are still evident, and someone shoots at his head, misses, and then flees.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • This entire movie is devoted to the breakage of Lucas. He begins as a likable, enthusiastic kindergarten teacher, but slowly degrades as gossip fans the flames. He is beaten, rejected and held in contempt.
    • This extends to Marcus, his son.
  • Both Sides Have a Point
    • Let's be honest. If you were one of the villagers, you would do exactly what they did.
    • The head teacher, Klara's parents, and the police mostly do what they *should* do in that situation. Unfortunately, their little mistakes exacerbate the tragedy.
    • In-universe, most of the tension is created by adults outright refusing to listen to Lucas's side of the story, instead believing Klara's first story and chalking up her insistence on her lying to be denial. It's one thing for parents to be fearful for their children, but most of the adults are absolutely certain of Lucas's guilt within a few days of Klara's lie. And even when the police dismiss the case, the adults still won't believe Lucas, even after they learn about the basement lie.
  • Children Are Innocent: Stated word-for-word. All the movie's problems are based on a single lie from Klara, who admittedly didn't know any better. Then the rest of the children start lying about Lucas abusing them...
  • The Determinator: Lucas really wants those groceries.
  • Double Meaning Title: The Hunt can stand for either the machotastic ceremony that all the males in that community must go through, or the Hunt of Lucas.
  • Fake Russian: Nadja is played by Alexandra Rapaport, a Swedish actress.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: A reverse example. The children all say they were abused in Lucas's basement, all describing its grey walls and orange sofa. However, Lucas doesn't have a basement.
  • Infallible Babble
  • Mama Bear: Klara's mother becomes ferocious when she thinks Lucas has molested her daughter, threatening to castrate him.
  • Miscarriage of Justice‎: The child therapist who interviews Klara is clearly leading her. She's a kid, so obviously she's going to agree to what you do.
    • However, the justice system itself works correctly, for a change. Lucas is arrested before his trial starts, but the case is quickly dismissed because of a newly discovered flaw in the evidence.
  • Oh Crap: Lucas learning that the rest of the children are lying about him, too.
  • Papa Wolf: Theo threatens to put a bullet in Lucas's brain if the rumors are proven true.
  • Pædo Hunt
  • Parents in Distress: Marcus, who loves his father, tries to force Klara to admit she's lying in order to get him released after he's arrested. Unfortunately, he's treated about the same as Lucas, simply for being his son.
  • Precocious Crush: Klara for Lucas, with a pretty horrendous outcome.
  • Snowball Lie: Klara starts the lie in the heat of being angry with Lucas. The other children pick it up and make it worse (as children are wont to do), which makes matters even worse for Lucas.
  • Surprisingly Good English: When someone is speaking English, it's 100% accurate and excellently enunciated. However, they are Northern Europeans, where learning multiple languages is encouraged, so it's not that surprising. (Nadja, however, can switch easily between languages but has a very thick English accent)
  • Think of the Children!: The village becomes paranoid and hysterical because of the threat Lucas poses to their kids.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Averted. Lucas is a very good guy. However, he's played by MadsMikkelsen, whose bone structure is sharp enough to cut.
  • You Monster!: Karla's mother says "You're a sick man.". Many of the villagers say a variation of this.
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