Silent Heart

Silent Heart

Theatrical poster
Stille hjerte
Directed by Bille August
Produced by Jesper Morthorst
Written by Christian Torpe
Music by Annette Focks
Cinematography Dirk Brüel
Edited by Anne Østerud
Janus Billeskov Jansen
SF Film
Distributed by
  • Level K (Scandinavia)
Release dates
  • 20 September 2014 (2014-09-20) (Spain)
  • 13 November 2014 (2014-11-13) (Denmark)
Running time
98 min.
Country Denmark
Language Danish
Budget DKK 13 mio

Silent Heart (Danish: Stille hjerte, Quiet heart) is a 2014 Danish drama film directed by Bille August, and starring Ghita Nørby, Morten Grunwald, Paprika Steen, and Jens Albinus. The film was nominated for the 2015 Nordic Council Film Prize.


A family of three generations gather over a weekend to say goodbye to Esther (Ghita Nørby) who suffers from an incurable disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and with the help of her husband Poul (Morten Grunwald) has chosen to pursue euthanasia when the weekend is over. But as the end approaches, the mother's decision becomes more and more difficult to handle for the daughters Heidi (Paprika Steen) and Sanne (Danica Curcic), and old conflicts come to the surface.



The topic of August's film is euthanasia. The film is a family drama about three generations coming together over a weekend to say goodbye to their wife, mother, mother in law, grandmother and friend.


Silent Heart was filmed over seven weeks on a farm northwest of Kerteminde on Funen.[1]


The film premièred 20 September 2014 at the San Sebastián International Film Festival where it received a 20 minutes standing ovation.[2] It was released theatrically in Denmark 13 November 2014.[3]

Critical response

Film critic Morten Piil in Filmmagasinet Ekko gave the film 5 out of 6 stars and wrote: "All in all, Silent Heart is Bille August's most complete film since The Best Intentions.[4] Jonathan Holland for The Hollywood Reporter wrote positively from San Sebastián that "After the disappointing Night Train to Lisbon, Heart signals a return to form for the former Oscar-winner Bille August, who here explores with practised ease and an alertness the emotional truth of the dynamics of an ordinarily neurotic family in an extraordinary situation. Accessible without being easy, and played to perfection by a superbly directed cast, Heart looks set to beat at festivals and in the European arthouse."[5]

Jay Weissberg for Variety on the other hand wrote that "Silent Heart is a standard-issue tearjerker about a dying matriarch gathering her family around on the weekend she plans to off herself: The only surprise is when the script goes from merely stereotyped to spectacularly silly with a late revelation that would feel idiotic even in a farfetched 1940s meller."[6]


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