Celebration

Helge (Henning Moritzen), a respected businessman and family patriarch, is celebrating his 60th birthday at the family-run hotel. Gathered together amongst a large party of family and friends are his wife Else (Birthe Neumann), his sullen eldest son Christian (Ulrich Thomsen), his boorish younger son Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen), and his well-traveled daughter Helene (Paprika Steen). Another sibling, Linda, has recently taken her life at the hotel. Helene finds Linda’s suicide note, but hides it in a medicine bottle after becoming upset by the undisclosed contents. Michael fights with his wife, whom he had earlier abandoned on the roadside with their three children, and then has sex with her. He later beats a waitress of the hotel after she pulls him aside to discuss that he had impregnated her in an affair.

At Helge’s birthday dinner, Christian makes a toast to his father. During the toast, he publicly accuses his father of sexually abusing both him and his twin sister Linda as children. After an initial shocked silence, the party goes on as usual as guests decide to move past the moment in denial. Helge pulls Christian aside to engage in a baffled conversation about his accusations. He questions his motivations for slandering him, and Christian appears to recant his accusation. However, Christian is spurred to further action by hotel chef Kim (Bjarne Henriksen), a childhood friend who knows about the abuse. Christian then continues his toast by accusing Helge of causing Linda’s death through the trauma caused from the abuse. Helge speaks to Christian alone and makes threatening offers to bring up Christian’s troubled personal history including his impotence with women and his perhaps-incestuous relationship with Linda.

Further exacerbating the tensions of the day, Helene’s black boyfriend Gbatokai (Gbatokai Dakinah) shows up, causing the racist Michael to lead most of the partygoers in singing the Danish song “Jeg har set en rigtig negermand” to offend him. The song contains racist remarks as it describes people of varying colors with lyrics such as “a real negro man, black as a bucket of tar,” and “a Chinese man, yellow as a bottle of soda water”

Else later makes a toast where she makes insulting comments towards her children. During this she accuses Christian of having an overactive imagination. With this, she asks him to apologize for his earlier statements and accusations. Christian then accuses her of knowing about the abuse yet not interfering. Michael and two other guests eject Christian from the hotel as guests are still in denial of the incident and are angered by Christian. Christian walks back in and they beat him and tie him to a tree in the woods outside of the hotel. He unties himself and returns. The waitress, Pia, finds Linda’s suicide note and gives it to Christian.

Christian gives the note to Helene and she reads it aloud in front of the party guests. In the note, Linda states that she is overwhelmed by trauma from Helge’s abuse. Helge admits to his misdeeds and leaves the dining room. Christian has a hallucination of Linda, causing him to faint. As he awakes, he learns that Helene and Michael are missing. Michael, also drunk, calls Helge outside and beats him severely. The following morning, the family and guests eat breakfast when Helge comes in and speaks to the group. He admits to his wrongdoing and declares his love for his children. Michael tells his father to leave the table.