Open Hearts

Director: Susanne Bier
Screenwriters: Susanne Bier, Anders Thomas Jensen

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


What happens when the momentum of one's life is stopped short in a single moment? How does life go on when what we've come to take for granted disappears?

Cecilie and Joachim are young, happy, and in love until a terrible car accident leaves Joachim paralyzed from the neck down. While Cecilie wishes desperately to comfort him and salvage something of the happy couplehood they shared, he is locked in a state of fury and despair, wanting only to be left alone. Feeling helpless and miserable, Cecilie finds herself drawn to the husband of the woman who hit Joachim, a family man and doctor named Niels. Hoping to comfort his shaken wife, who walked away from the accident unharmed, Niels offers a sympathetic ear to the grief-stricken Cecilie. Their tentative friendship blossoms into a passionate affair, and as Neils finds himself falling deeply in love, his seemingly happy life begins to fall apart.

Adhering to the guidelines of the celebrated Dogme 95 manifesto and featuring a cast of some of the best Danish actors and actresses, director Susanne Bier's seventh feature is a stunning exploration of adult passions and dilemmas that pose a thorny question: How does one survive the reverberations of a single tragic moment?

— Elizabeth Richardson

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]