“It was about being awakened to life.”
Four school teachers are living boring uninspired lives. One decided enough is enough and tried and see if a little bit of alcohol every day would make things better. It does, and the others joined the experiment. As they hypothesised more alcohol means more happiness, their experiment lead them to alcoholism which ultimately brings them misery and unhappiness. At this point, they decided to put it down and again things get better. In the ending scene, we see the teachers having fun amidst a crowd of students whose celebrating their graduation with alcohol, with the protagonist having a sip, and dancing like he’s high.
I can’t say enough good things about this movie, especially on its emotional depth. It discusses a theme which I’m interested in, which is one’s desire, intention and actions on personal happiness. The movie at first seems to suggest that happiness can be condensed into alcohol and people would magically be better in their lives. Of course, that is what happened in the movie, even with the ending scene with the alcohol, I’m sure alcohol enthusiasts are happily validated. But this movie is also about something more than alcohol, which is, why we take alcohol.
Is it more sensible or not sensible to drink? That was the question brought up by one of the teachers. He argued that one of the psychology studies suggests it is sensible as alcohol is good for us like a nutrient, just like vegetables: it helps increases our confidence in life. But on the other hand it is not sensible as it has historically proven it caused more problems than it’s worth. The funny thing is despite the social problems, health problems and whatnot alcohol caused, people are still drinking it, as it is an indispensable Danish culture. When culture is involved, it turns the argument all around: if you don’t drink along with society, you’ll suffer being the minority, and that affects mental health. So back to the question, is it more sensible or not sensible to drink?
In the ending scene, we see the crowd of students taking alcohol along with the protagonist, dancing and having the time of their lives. To me, it symbolizes, alcohol is one way of relating and connecting with each other in society. Many mistaken it as a necessity to happiness, but in reality it was a tool for human connections, thus the euphoria it brings.
In my opinion, the movie suggests, if we drink alcohol to fill an empty void, it multiplies the void. But if we drink alcohol with the intention to be happy, then it delivers the results. And now it seems like we can further abstractify the above conclusion. If we do anything with the intention to be happy, you’ll be happy. It’s the intention that’s matters. Alcohol is just a convenient medium in their society, in reality we could replace it with other activities. Do it with the intention of being happy.
Back to the question, why do they take alcohol in the first place? To be happier. That’s why the movie is not about alcohol, it’s about why the protagonists explore alcohol in the first place: to be awakened to life.