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Past Films

The Square

  • Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, Claes Bang
  • Director: Ruben Östlund
  • Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 142 min.

Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is The Square, an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes, it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian’s foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the museum’s PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for The Square. The response is overblown and sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis.

"Östlund’s eye for the subtleties of human behavior, especially public behavior, never fails."
- Emily Yoshida, New York Magazine (Vulture)
"In all its flawed brilliance, The Square remains an original, visceral, uncomfortable and essential viewing experience. "
- Lee Marshall, Screen International
"An examination of social context, elitism, cultural bubbles and more, The Square is - to put it precisely - absolutely bonkers. But purposefully bonkers."
- Tom Long, Detroit News
"It's laugh-out-loud funny and occasionally just plain silly. But it asks a serious question that seems more urgent with every passing day: How much inhumanity does it take before we access your humanity?"
- Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"The Square delivers a savage satire on the international art world."
- Christian Lorentzen, The New Republic
"The Square is both outlandishly funny and biting-and features a fascinating and sometimes disturbing performance by Terry Notary."
- Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine
"A potent, disturbing work that explores the boundaries of political correctness, artistic liberty and free speech in provocative ways."
- Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
"This is a movie with a lot on its mind, from art to altruism to the so-called bystander effect, and it could function as a Rorschach test for its audience, reflecting viewers’ anxieties and insecurities right back at them. It’s also just really, really funny, at least for those who can find humor in humiliation. "
- A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club
"The Square means to send you out of the theater arguing, and its success on that front should not eclipse its more lasting, unsettling achievement. It affirms that art, this movie very much included, can tell us things about ourselves that we’d prefer not to know."
- Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times