A Second Chance (2014 film)

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A Second Chance
En chance til 2015 Susanne Bier poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
En chance til
Directed bySusanne Bier
Produced bySisse Graum Jørgensen
Written byAnders Thomas Jensen
StarringNikolaj Coster-Waldau
Ulrich Thomsen
Maria Bonnevie
Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Lykke May Andersen
Music byJohan Söderqvist
CinematographyMichael Keith Snyman
Edited byPernille Bech Christensen
Distributed byNordisk Film
Release date
  • 9 September 2014 (2014-09-09) (TIFF)
  • 15 January 2015 (2015-01-15) (Denmark)
Running time
105 minutes

A Second Chance (Danish: En chance til) is a 2014 Danish thriller film directed by Susanne Bier. The film stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Ulrich Thomsen, Maria Bonnevie, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Lykke May Andersen. It was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.[1][2]


Police detective Andreas and his partner Simon are called to investigate an argument in a junkie couple's badly rundown flat, where they discover a child in a wardrobe lying in its own excrements. The seven-week old child Sofus is dirty and hungry but after he has been examined by Social Services they realize he is in good health. Because of that he cannot be taken from his parents Tristan and Sanne, despite the fact that they are well-known drug addicts.

Andreas himself has a seven-week old child called Alexander with his wife Anne. They love him dearly and he's well looked after, but he is not an easy child. Soon Anne is unable to cope with Alexander because of her own mental instability. One early morning Andreas wakes up with Anne crying and he finds that Alexander is dead. A distraught Anne threatens to kill herself should Andreas call an ambulance who'd take Alexander from her. After he has calmed down his wife and convinced her to take pills to sleep, Andreas takes the dead baby to the hospital. Waiting in the hospital's parking lot, he then decides to swap the babies and breaks into Tristan and Sanne's flat, where the parents are sleeping off their high. Anne reacts distraught. She refuses to accept the baby Andreas brings her as her own.

The next morning Tristan notices that Sofus is dead. Sanne too tells her husband that the dead baby isn't her son. Because Tristan fears that he and Sanne will have to go to prison, he takes Sofus to a busy street and pretends that someone has abducted him from his stroller. Andreas and Simon, who are ordered to investigate, repeatedly interrogate Tristan and Sanne concerning the whereabouts of the dead baby (Alexander).

Anne seems to have come to terms with the new situation. On one of her nightly walks she leaves the stroller in the middle of the road on an bridge. Through this she forces a trucker to stop. After she's got him to take the baby and he wants to take it to his truck to keep warm, she jumps into the river and commits suicide. In the wake of Anne's death Andreas and his mother care for the baby (Sofus).

In later interrogations Andreas and his partner try to get Tristan to talk. Andreas slips up when he calls the baby “Alexander” instead of “Sofus”. After Tristan is told that Sanne has testified and that they'd have to find the baby to prove cot death, he comes clean. Andreas reacts with an outburst of rage, hitting and kicking Tristan, whereupon his superior sends him home and orders a meeting with the police psychologist. Tristan leads the police to a remote area in the forest, where he buried the baby.

Sanne has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. She insists that the dead baby wasn't Sofus.

At Alexander's autopsy it is revealed that he died due to a cerebral haemorrhage caused by shaken baby syndrome and that he had several older bleeds and rib fractures. Andreas realizes that Anne is responsible for the maltreatment. In a knee-jerk reaction, he makes with Sofus for his mother's holiday home. Meanwhile his police partner Simon has figured out that Andreas must have swapped the babies. He looks for him at the holiday home and gets it across to Andreas that to turn himself in is the only right choice. He'd be dismissed from his job in law enforcement but be let off on a suspended sentence because of significant mitigating circumstances.

Andreas takes Sofus to the psychiatric clinic and returns him to Sanne, who is overjoyed. Some years later Sanne goes shopping at a hardware store, where Andreas works after leaving the police. When she leaves the child alone for a moment, Andreas talks to him and learns his identity.



The film raises questions like how far should you go if a child is in distress, if social services appear to be unable or unwilling to help, and where the limit is for what you can do to get the child's desires fulfilled.[3]


  1. ^ "Toronto Film Festival Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  2. ^ Leslie Felperin. "'A Second Chance' ('En Chance til'): Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  3. ^ Silas Bay Nielsen (15 January 2015). "Bier om 'En chance til': Filmen viser vores fordomme om forældreskab". DR (in Danish). Retrieved 3 February 2015.

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