DEATH, GUILT, VINDICTION – A PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW OF ‘A 2ND CHANCE’ FROM SUSANNE BIER 1
DEATH, GUILT, VINDICTION – A PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW OF ‘A 2ND CHANCE’ FROM SUSANNE BIER 2
A 2ND CHANCE // ROCK SALT RELEASING
Krystine I. Batcho, Ph.D., and professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, investigates the psychological aspects of A 2ND CHANCE, starring recent Game of Thrones’ Emmy-nom, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Los Angeles, CA – July 21, 2018 – Oscar-winning and Emmy-nominated director, Susanne Bier (The Night Manager, In A Better World), presents A 2nd CHANCE – a gritty, high-concept Nordic noir that captures the unthinkable, and how easily we lose our grasp on justice when life is hanging by a thread.

Written by Ander Thomas Jensen (All You Need is Love, In A Better World), A 2nd CHANCE parallels two families – one, the happy family of Detective Andreas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and – two, the junkie-couple who leaves their baby boy covered in his own excrement and surrounded by their fumes from heated spoons. But when the unthinkable happens and tragedy strikes Andreas’ family, the sudden tragic death of their son, the cop sees his life hanging by a thread as he makes a choice that will lead himself and everyone he knows down a rabbit hole of moral and ethical disarray.

DEATH, GUILT, VINDICTION – A PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW OF ‘A 2ND CHANCE’ FROM SUSANNE BIER 3

Krystine I. Batcho, Ph.D., and professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, investigated the film further, diving deep into the various psychological aspects of Bier’s A 2ND CHANCE. Read her professional insight here:

Death, Guilt, Vindication:  A Psychological Review of A 2nd Chance – by Krystine I. Batcho, Ph.D.

The audience quickly becomes engaged in the unimaginable decision made by a new father, Andreas, in the dark film A 2nd Chance. His wife, Anna, refuses to accept the sudden death of their infant son, Alexander, and threatens suicide if he is taken away.  A detective, Andreas swaps his deceased son for the neglected baby, Sofus, of a drug-addicted couple. The title aptly focuses on the questions spawned by this life-changing decision. Was kidnapping the neglected infant an unforgiveable crime or a courageous rescue? After the consequences have ensued, Andreas addressed the gripping ethical dilemma, explaining not only that he thought it was the right thing to do, but that it was the right thing to do. The viewer might argue that he was trying to justify his action through the defense mechanism of rationalization. After all, he decided to take Sofus in order to rescue him from his deplorable environment only after his own son had died and his wife made inconsolable. On the other hand, Andreas had asked social services to remove Sofus from his abusive home before Alexander’s death. Andreas’ believed that Sofus deserved a second chance to thrive in a healthy home before the death of his own infant.

But giving Sofus a second chance meant denying one to his parents. Viewers might wonder whose second chance is portrayed in the film. Who should get a second chance? How do people decide who deserves another opportunity and who doesn’t? Andreas believed that he and Anna should have a second chance at loving and raising a child, just as Sofus should have another chance at growing up with loving, attentive parents. Like Andreas, many people judge merit on the basis of perceived innocence. And like Andreas, many people are reluctant to grant a third chance, believing that failure to honor the second one forfeits the right to another. Sofus’ father, Tristan, was violating his parole, and Andreas would have seen him as betraying the trust that granted him a second chance after prison. Sofus’ mother, Sanne, poses a more complicated case.  Andreas saw Sanne as guilty of not protecting and nurturing Sofus. Privy to more detail, the audience is provided a more complex picture of Sanne as a victim of Tristan’s abusive control, including forcible drugging. While viewers can disagree about the legality and morality of Andreas’ decision to swap the infants, most would agree that his actions gave Sofus the second chance Andreas intended and Sanne the one he had not anticipated.

As suggested by its title, this film explores Andreas’ agonizing judgment of who has the strongest claim to another chance. But an equally important concern addressed by the film is what a person does when granted a second chance. One might even argue that the central question raised by the film is why some people use a new chance to maximum benefit, while others squander it or even manage to twist it into something harmful.  Given the opportunity to help Sofus, Anna was unable to tackle the challenge. Failing to cope with her grief and guilt, she gave in to suicidal despair. On parole, Tristan returned to his drug habit, abusive treatment of Sanne, and neglect of his infant son. Along with Andreas, viewers witness the positive transformation of Sanne and Sofus, both having benefitted greatly from the life-changing second chance afforded them by Andreas’ actions.

At first it seems counterintuitive that Sanne made the most of her new circumstances, while Anna despaired. Recovery and psychological growth in the aftermath of adversity or trauma is a function of resilience, the ability to cope with significant stress and to bounce back from failure, loss, injury or emotional pain. The life-determining difference in resilience among individuals remains somewhat of a mystery. Research suggests, however, that resilience is more likely when someone has the support of caring relationships and had enjoyed the love of nurturing relationships and positive role models during their early development. Healthy childhood experiences build positive self-esteem, self-confidence, and trust in significant others. Although viewers are not given information about Tristan’s background, the film contrasts the relationships that Anna and Andreas each had with their parents. While Andreas’ mother came to support him after Anna’s suicide, from early in the film it was obvious that Anna’s parents were disengaged, distant, and non-supportive. After Anna’s death, her mother admits, reluctantly, that they should have come sooner. The film hints at a connection between Anna’s difficulty in coping with the stress of mothering Alexander and her guilt upon his death and the absence of a loving, nurturing relationship with her own mother. One can only speculate about the likelihood of Anna suffering with postpartum depression that would have contributed to her difficulties in mothering and posttraumatic recovery.

An important take away from this dark film is to recognize the ripple effect of the quality of relationships, for better and for worse. Loving a child helps that child pass love along in healthy adult relationships.  Recognizing Senna’s resilience in taking advantage of her second chance to raise Sofus in a healthy way is more constructive than focusing on Anna’s failures. The film ends on an optimistic note, with Senna passing on her good fortune to Sofus by giving him a life-changing second chance. Resilience can be developed. We can learn to heal and to rebuild new lives in the wake of adversity or tragedy. We can love and support others, especially children, to enhance their resilience.  In short, there is hope even in the darkest of times.  

About Krystine I. Batcho, Ph.D.: 

Krystine Batcho, Ph.D., is a professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. She studies nostalgia; she has found that people who are prone to nostalgia excel at maintaining personal relationships and choose healthy social ways of coping with their troubles. She developed the Nostalgia Inventory Test, which measures how often and how deeply people feel nostalgic. Her tool has been translated into multiple languages, including Chinese, Polish and Spanish. Author of Longing for Nostalgia.

DEATH, GUILT, VINDICTION – A PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW OF ‘A 2ND CHANCE’ FROM SUSANNE BIER 4

A 2ND CHANCE stars a fantastic Scandinavian cast of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Oblivion, Mama, Game of Thrones), award-winning Swedish actress, Maria Bonnevie (I Am Dina), Nikolai LieKaas (Angels & Demons), and debuting model, Lykke May Andersen. Supporting is Ulrich Thomsen (The Blacklist), Roland Moller (Atomic Blonde) and Peter Harber (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). A 2nd CHANCE will be available on video streaming platforms beginning July 23rd. For press inquires, please contact: jenna@tricoast.com.

In collaboration with Trustnordisk and production companies, Zentropa, Zentropa International Sweden, FilmFyn and Film I Vast, ROCK SALT RELEASING (Daisy Hamilton and Dean Fernando) successfully launched the film’s limited U.S. theatrical in July at Los Angeles’ Arena Cinelounge Sunset and will now represent its exclusive two-day showing in Buellton, CA at Parks Plaza Buellton (515 McMurray Rd, Buellton, CA 93427) on July 25th and 26th.

DEATH, GUILT, VINDICTION – A PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW OF ‘A 2ND CHANCE’ FROM SUSANNE BIER 5

A 2nd CHANCE (2018, 102 min.) Directed by Susanne Bier. Editor: Pernille Bech Christensen. Cinematographer: Michael Snyman. Original Music: Johan Söderqvist. US, English. Zentropa, Zentropa International Sweden, FilmFyn, Film I Vast. TriCoast Worldwide, Rock Salt Releasing.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Zentropa, Zentropa International Sweden, FilmFyn and Film I Vast. 

About Rock Salt Releasing, a label of TriCoast Worldwide: 

Daisy Hamilton and Dean Fernando. TriCoast Worldwide is a premium International sales agent, representing the best of US and international films at all the major film markets. Sister company to TriCoast Entertainment and TriCoast Studios, the company is located at the Studio facility in Culver City, Los Angeles. 

Founded by: Strathford Hamilton and Marcy Levitas Hamilton.

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