It's dysfunctionality gone dysfunctional in this early Danish Dogme 95 style film by Thomas Vinterberg. An upper-class family reunite for the father's 60th birthday, not long after one of his daughters committed suicide. And during the elegant dinner, eldest son Christian (Ulrich Thomsen) gives a public speech in which he accuses his father of having sexually abused him and his siblings during their youth. Like Christian, Vinterberg wants to shock his audience, and he probably does. But the two have more in common; they both lack the elegance and context to make their respective audiences believe in them and really care about them. The film's crude style and seemingly chaotic denouement may well have the intention of mirroring the characters' chaotic state of mind and bring them close; make them more authentic and real. But Vinterberg's cold, sometimes farcical observations of them make them all seem pathetic and irrelevant instead. And there's not much authentic about how the other guests at the party react - they seem to be there just to prolong the suffering, for both us and the protagonist. Contrary to what it might at first seem like, Festen does not handle or discuss sexual abuse in a serious manner, it simply uses it for effect.