Hear: electric toothbrushes drone—cleaning teeth—barely enough to drown out underpinning fears.
See: loose clothing, bare skin—despite the frigid clime basic needs are met.
Taste: the fluoride paste, eager to be spit.
Brushing teeth is a motif in Force Majeure and it is easy to see why. First, the industrial hum evokes a subjective torment cemented in the cinema psyche by the horror genre. Second, the familiarity and comfort of the scene bring to light insulating technologies: heat, light, warm clothes, water. Needing nothing, the family nevertheless appears hollowed in a sense, isolated from one another as well as their surroundings. Third, each character sees his or herself reflected as both one and as a group. Identity is the main concern of this film, particularly the challenge of self-identification in the face of chaos (“force majeure”) and a pastiche of family scripts (patriarchy, feminism, etc.).
More on each of these considerations.