A Fortunate Man (Movie)

Title — A Fortunate Man
Available on — Netflix
Production Country — Denmark
Release Date — 2018
A gifted engineer flees his austere roots to pursue wealth and success among Copenhagen's elite, but the pride propelling him threatens to be his ruin.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

“A Fortunate Man”

Directed by Bille August and written by Bille August along with Anders August, “A Fortunate Man” is a compelling film based on the novel “Lucky Per” by Danish Nobel Prize-winning author Henrik Pontoppidan. The movie stars Esben Smed as the ambitious protagonist Lykke-Per and Katrine Greis-Rosenthal.

The story follows Lykke-Per, a gifted engineer who escapes his humble beginnings in search of wealth and success amidst Copenhagen’s high society. As he ascends the social ladder, his pride becomes both his driving force and his potential downfall.

Throughout the film, viewers witness Lykke-Per’s journey as he navigates the complexities of ambition, relationships, and societal expectations. His pursuit of greatness is marked by both triumphs and challenges, showcasing the intricate web of desires and consequences that come with chasing one’s dreams.

As Lykke-Per’s story unfolds, audiences are drawn into a world where personal ambition clashes with moral dilemmas, highlighting the eternal struggle between success and integrity. The film delves deep into themes of identity, sacrifice, and the price of ambition, offering a poignant reflection on the human experience.

With a runtime of 2 hours and 42 minutes, “A Fortunate Man” immerses viewers in a visually stunning narrative that captures the essence of a bygone era. The film’s cinematography, coupled with powerful performances by the cast, brings to life a tale of aspiration and consequence that resonates with audiences long after the credits roll.

For those seeking a thought-provoking exploration of ambition, pride, and the pursuit of success, “A Fortunate Man” is a cinematic gem that offers both entertainment and introspection. Through Lykke-Per’s story, audiences are invited to reflect on the choices we make and the paths we take in our own quests for fulfillment.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Esben Smed, Katrine Rosenthal, Benjamin Kitter, Julie Christiansen, Tommy Kenter, Tammi Øst, Rasmus Bjerg, Ole Lemmeke, Sarah Viktoria Bjerregaard, Anders Hove, Jens Albinus

Actor Role
Esben Smed Peter Sidenius
Katrine Greis-Rosenthal Jakobe Salomon
Benjamin Kitter Ivan Salomon
Julie Christiansen Nanny Salomon
Tommy Kenter Phillip Salomon
Sophie-Marie Jeppesen Lisbeth
Tammi Øst Lea Salomon
Rasmus Bjerg Eybert
Sara Viktoria Bjerregaard Inger
Elsebeth Steentofts Fru Sidenius
Anders Hove Pastor Sidenius
Jens Albinus Eberhardt Sidenius

💬 Reviews and feedback

Are you ready to embark on a cinematic journey that feels like flipping through the pages of a classic novel? If so, “A Fortunate Man” might just be the film for you. This Danish gem offers a captivating character study of a man whose pride and ego become formidable obstacles on his quest for success.

The movie revolves around Peter Sidenius, a gifted engineer who leaves behind his humble beginnings to chase wealth and prestige among Copenhagen’s elite. However, his unyielding pride threatens to unravel his ambitions, leading to a compelling exploration of human nature and the consequences of unchecked ego.

As the story unfolds, viewers are drawn into Peter’s complex world, where personal demons clash with societal expectations, creating a rich tapestry of emotions and conflicts. The film masterfully navigates themes of ambition, pride, and self-discovery, offering audiences a thought-provoking narrative that lingers long after the credits roll.

  • Acting and Characters: The performances in “A Fortunate Man” are nothing short of exceptional. The cast delivers nuanced portrayals that breathe life into each character, making them feel remarkably real and relatable. Especially noteworthy is the lead actor’s portrayal of Peter Sidenius, capturing the inner turmoil and external bravado with equal finesse.
  • Direction: The direction in this film is truly commendable. The director skillfully navigates between intimate character moments and grand societal commentary, creating a seamless blend of personal drama and overarching themes. Each scene is crafted with precision and care, drawing viewers deeper into Peter’s world with every frame.
  • Cinematography: Visually stunning, “A Fortunate Man” treats viewers to breathtaking landscapes and meticulously composed shots that enhance the storytelling experience. From sweeping vistas to intimate close-ups, every frame is a work of art that adds layers of meaning to the narrative.
  • Production Design: The attention to detail in the production design is impeccable. From period-accurate costumes to meticulously crafted sets, every element contributes to creating an immersive world that transports viewers back in time. The authenticity of the setting adds depth and authenticity to the story being told.
  • Score: The haunting score of “A Fortunate Man” serves as a powerful companion to the narrative, evoking emotions and underscoring key moments with subtlety and grace. The music enhances the viewing experience, immersing audiences deeper into Peter’s journey of self-discovery.

Binge-watching Tips: To fully appreciate the nuances of “A Fortunate Man,” immerse yourself in its world without distractions. Allow yourself to be swept away by the intricate storytelling and complex characters for an enriching viewing experience.

In conclusion, “A Fortunate Man” is a cinematic masterpiece that delves deep into the human psyche while offering poignant insights into ambition, pride, and the pursuit of success. It’s a film that resonates long after it ends—a true gem waiting to be discovered.

Ratings: 9/10

Pros Cons
Great character study Protagonist can be frustrating to watch
Interesting character development Somewhat difficult to watch
Impressive cast and costume design Sprawling narrative at times
Understated direction Tends to overstate themes
Beautifully depicts the late 19th century setting Some nudity


  • A Fortunate Man - Wikipedia

    A Fortunate Man(Danish:) is a 2018 Danish drama film directed by Bille August. In August 2018, it was one of three films shortlisted to be the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. The film is based on the eight-volume novel (originally and correctly translated into English as


    Lucky Per)by Danish Nobel Prize-winning author Henrik Pontoppidan and published between 1898 and 1904. The film’s title comes from the 2018 translation by Paul Larkin – A Fortunate Man, published by Museum Tusculanum Press – and The film was released on American Netflix streaming on 19 April 2019.

  • A Fortunate Man (2018) - IMDb


    • drober1980
    • Mar 6, 2019
    • How long is A Fortunate Man?Powered by Alexa

    DetailsBox office

    • Budget
      • DKK 55,000,000 (estimated)
    • Runtime2 hours 42 minutes
    • Color
    • Aspect ratio
      • 1.85 : 1

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  • A Fortunate Man | Rotten Tomatoes

    A Fortunate ManWhere to WatchA Fortunate Man

    Watch A Fortunate Man with a subscription on Netflix.

    Critics ReviewsAudience ReviewsMy RatingCast & Crew

    Bille AugustDirectorEsben SmedLykke-PerJens AlbinusEberhardt SideniusAnders HovePastor SideniusJulie ChristiansenNanny SalomonRasmus BjergEybert

  • A Fortunate Man (2018) - Plot - IMDb

    • A gifted engineer flees his austere roots to pursue wealth and success among Copenhagen’s elite, but the pride propelling him threatens to be his ruin.
    • In the late 19th century, Peter Sidenius is an ambitious young man from a devout Christian family in Western Denmark, who travels to the Danish capital of Copenhagen to study engineering, rebelling against his clergyman father. He comes into contact with the intellectual circles of a wealthy, Jewish family and seduces the elder daughter, Jakobe. Per, as he now calls himself, conceives a large-scale engineering project including the construction of a series of canals in his native Jutland, and lobbies for its construction. But just as Per seems to be about to make his dreams come true, his pride stands in the way.
    • Peter is an ambitious young man from a devout Christian family in Western Denmark in the late 19th century, who rebels against his strict father by traveling to the capital to study. He comes to seduce the daughter of a wealthy Jewish family.—OJT
    • Lykke-Per is a novel by Danish Nobel Prize-winning author Henrik Pontoppidan published in eight volumes between 1898 and 1904. It is considered one of the major Danish novels, and in 2004 it was made part of the Danish Culture Canon.The novel tells the story of Per Sidenius a self-confident bright young man who breaks with his religious family in order to become an engineer to construct energy saving wind turbines. However, at the height of his success, his family background catch up with him and he gives up his career and his love for a wealthy and intelligent Jewess. For the character of Per Sidenius, Pontoppidan drew on his own biography as a Jutlandic vicar’s son who traveled to Copenhagen to train as an engineer before becoming an author.The novel was well received by German literati such as Thomas Mann, Georg Lukács, and Ernst Bloch, who considered it “a cosmopolitan masterpiece of epochal sweep and a profound social, psychological, and metaphysical anatomy of the modernist transition” . While it had been translated into 11 languages before the end of the 20th century, the first English translation was published in 2010 by Naomi Lebowitz .A major theme of the story is the relation of “luck” to “happiness”, the Danish word lykke means both. While Per initially considers happiness to be the result of success and the achievement of projects and goals in the mundane world, he eventually realizes that happiness can be achieved independently of the luck that leads to success. For Pontoppidan, Per’s withdrawal from the bustling scene of Copenhagen is therefore not to be understood as defeat, but as a victory over the very circumstances that defines success. .Plot Per Sidenius is a young aspiring engineer from a devout Christian family in Western Denmark, he renounces his faith and travels to Copenhagen to study at the Polytechnical University, and to achieve his personal objective of becoming “a conqueror”.In Copenhagen he comes into contact with the Modern as a revolutionary force in the form of the natural sciences and technology, but also the cosmopolitan and intellectual circles of the wealthy Jewish milieu in Copenhagen. He becomes a friend of the banker Philip Salomon and has a brief and tense relationship with his daughter Jakobe. Per conceives a large scale engineering project and plans the construction of a series of canals and harbor systems in his native Jutland, and starts lobbying for its construction with the political and academic establishment. When academia dismisses the idea as unfeasible, he nonetheless manages to gain support through his contacts to the bank world who turn out to be more progressive. Nonetheless the project eventually fails and he returns to Jutland where he again embraces his Christian roots and lives the last years of his life in ascetic contemplation while carrying out the dreary work of a civil servant.”When, in spite of all the good fortune that had come his way, he wasn’t happy, it was because he had not wanted to be happy in the general sense of the word.”

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⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

In the movie “A Fortunate Man,” the ending is a culmination of the protagonist Jakob’s journey towards self-discovery and realization. Throughout the film, Jakob grapples with the conflicting desires for wealth and success versus a more meaningful and fulfilling life. This inner struggle leads him to face moral dilemmas and conflicts that ultimately shape his character.

As the story reaches its climax, Jakob finds himself at a pivotal moment where he must confront the consequences of his actions and the values that truly define him. This moment of introspection forces Jakob to reevaluate his choices and priorities, leading to a profound reckoning with his true self.

The ending of “A Fortunate Man” is deliberately left open to interpretation, allowing viewers to reflect on the themes of materialism, ambition, and personal fulfillment. Some may interpret it as a cautionary tale warning against the perils of prioritizing material success above all else, while others may see it as a story of redemption and self-realization as Jakob comes to terms with his past mistakes and seeks a more authentic path.

The film challenges viewers to ponder their own values and priorities, encouraging them to contemplate the true essence of happiness and fulfillment in a world driven by external measures of success.

Directed by acclaimed Danish filmmaker Bille August, “A Fortunate Man” beautifully captures the complexities of human nature and the eternal struggle between ambition and contentment. The cinematography by Rasmus Videbæk vividly portrays both the serene Danish countryside and the harsh realities of urban life, enhancing the emotional depth of the narrative.

The lead role of Jakob is portrayed with depth and nuance by Danish actor Esben Smed, whose performance brings to life the inner turmoil and conflicts of the character. The musical score composed by Johan Söderqvist adds another layer of emotion and resonance to the film, underscoring the themes of inner turmoil and personal choices.

Based on the novel by Danish author Henrik Pontoppidan, “A Fortunate Man” has garnered critical acclaim and accolades, including the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie’s exploration of success, happiness, and the consequences of one’s decisions resonates with audiences, sparking contemplation and discussion about the true meaning of fortune and fulfillment.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating and Parental Guide:

Age Recommendation:

This movie, “A Fortunate Man,” is recommended for viewers aged 16 and above due to its content.

Parental Guide:

Parents should be aware of the following content in the movie:

  • Sex & Nudity: There is mild sexual content in the movie, including topless female nudity, implied intercourse, slight undressing, and suggestive sounds. A couple is shown on a hill deciding to have intercourse, but nothing explicit is shown. This scene lasts for about 30 seconds.

Overall, “A Fortunate Man” contains themes and scenes that may not be suitable for younger audiences, making it more appropriate for viewers aged 16 and above.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Netflix Available with subscription. A young man breaks free from his devoutly religious family in Western Denmark to pursue an engineering degree.

❝ Quotes and Cult

  • To learn about this doctor, John Sassall, was really inspiring.
  • That's all there is; there isn't anymore.

🤖A Fortunate Man Reddit Talks

A Fortunate Man is a Danish drama film directed by Bille August and starring Esben Smed as Peter.

The film follows Peter, a young man who leaves his devoutly religious family in Western Denmark to pursue an engineering degree in Copenhagen. There, he becomes successful but also arrogant and isolated.

The film has been praised for its performances, cinematography, and direction, but it has also been criticized for being too slow-paced and for having a predictable plot.

Here are some of the topics that have been discussed on Reddit about A Fortunate Man:

  • The film’s themes: Redditors have discussed the film’s themes of ambition, success, and the cost of pursuing one’s dreams. Some have argued that the film is a cautionary tale about the dangers of hubris, while others have seen it as a more nuanced exploration of the human condition.
  • The film’s characters: Redditors have also discussed the film’s characters, particularly Peter. Some have praised Peter’s ambition and determination, while others have criticized his arrogance and selfishness. There has also been some discussion about the role of Peter’s family in his development.
  • The film’s cinematography: The film’s cinematography has been praised by many Redditors. They have noted the film’s beautiful visuals and its effective use of light and shadow.
  • The film’s pacing: Some Redditors have criticized the film’s pacing, finding it to be too slow. Others have defended the film’s pacing, arguing that it is necessary to develop the characters and themes.
  • The film’s ending: The film’s ending has also been discussed by Redditors. Some have found it to be satisfying, while others have found it to be too ambiguous.

Overall, A Fortunate Man is a well-made film that has sparked a lot of discussion on Reddit. While it is not without its flaws, the film is ultimately a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant exploration of the human condition.

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Is A Fortunate Man a good movie?

If you enjoy classic novels brought to the screen in a way that feels like reading the novel, this film is for you. It offers a very interesting character study of a man struggling with pride and ego, leading to a captivating exploration of his journey to success.

What is the movie The Fortunate Man about?

In response to a letter from Peter, Jakobe travels to Jutland to visit Peter one last time. He reveals that he is dying of cancer and leaves his estate to her school. The final scene shows Peter standing at a significant location from his past, reflecting on his journey.

How does the movie A Fortunate Man end?

A gifted engineer leaves his humble beginnings to seek wealth and success among Copenhagen’s elite. However, his pride becomes his downfall as he struggles to balance ambition and personal values.

What is A Fortunate Man about on Netflix?

The movie follows a talented engineer who abandons his modest origins to chase prosperity and social status in Copenhagen. But the pride driving him threatens to sabotage his aspirations.

Is A Fortunate Man worth watching?

A Fortunate Man presents a fresh take on the struggles and aspirations of a gifted individual striving for success. Despite some minor drawbacks, the film offers an engaging story that is definitely worth watching.

Where was A Fortunate Man filmed?

Parts of the mini-series “A Fortunate Man” were shot in Vienna, Styria, and Salzburg, in collaboration with Nordisk and support from the Austrian Television Fund.

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