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The Misfortunates (2009)

De helaasheid der dingen (original title)
13-year-old Gunther Strobbe grows up surrounded by alcohol, trash and his completely useless father and uncles. Slowly but surely, he's being prepared for the same hapless life. Can he defy his destiny?


(screenplay), (novel) | 1 more credit »

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7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Vanbaeden ...
Valentijn Dhaenens ...
Johan Heldenbergh ...
Gilda De Bal ...
Pauline Grossen ...
Sofie Palmers ...
Vriendin Gunther
Guy Dermul ...
Directeur school
Jos Geens ...
Robbie Cleiren ...
Sara De Bosschere ...
Nele Fockedey
Wout Kelchtermans ...


In Reetveerdegem (English would be Arsefeatherham), a fictitious derelict hamlet near run-down industrial city Aalst (Alost), five debt-burdened drop-out Strobbe brothers move back in with their pensioned mother 'Meetje', still wasting their lives in dead-end jobs, alcohol, gambling and meaningless sex. Celle also took in, as if their baby brother, his son Gunther. Nobody expects the knave (13) to grow up and become a respectable citizen either, despite his better IQ and attitude, as his uncles' and father's mischief and reputation seem to sabotage every single opportunity. Discovering love may motivate him after all, or accidental paternity could drag him down to father's level. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Parents Guide:







Release Date:

9 April 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Shittiness of Things  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The official Belgian submission for the 2010 Academy Awards. See more »


During the drinking games you see beer glasses from the brand Jupiler. These show the new logo which wasn't released before 2005. See more »


Referenced in L'incertitude des choses (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Harsh Picture
9 June 2013 | by (Minneapolis, USA) – See all my reviews

When you think of Belgium, many things might pop to your mind, but certainly not this harsh comedy-drama about the dysfunction that tops all disfunctions. The Strobbes, working (although almost nobody is working),class family consists of 4 loutish sons, stoic mother and the 13-year old son of one of the brothers, with more potential than all of them together. And there is almost nothing else but excessive drinking, and all the things that come with it. Cruelty, violence, hangover and such a waste of both lives and space. This is harsh picture of a family, that doesn't know how else to connect but through getting smashed. The scene that stands out is incredibly hard to watch. When the boys father comes from rehab for a weekend, healthier and stronger, his brothers slowly draw him back to the pit he tried to escape. Strange and disturbing movie, but I have a feeling one that you don't forget soon.

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