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Mark de Cloe
Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen,
Lois de Jong,
A refreshingly humorous, insightful and sensitive film from the Netherlands from director Michael ten Horn who also wrote this contemporary story with Anne Barn Hoorn lights up the screen with vivid color, funky music, a story with many twists and a groups of excellent actors. It is a film hat deserves a wide audience because it addresses issues usually avoided in honest filmmaking.
The van End family is prototypically dysfunctional, having a tough time connecting to one another, leading their own little lives in their own silly little worlds. The father Evert (Ton Kas) works in a factory that makes a hot dog appearing food piece: once a year there is an eating contest and for the past few years his son Manuel (Abe Dijkman) has won the trophy for eating the most (otherwise Manuel is a trouble maker who spends his hours smoking dope). The mother Etty (Jacqueline Blom) is discontent with the family in general and feeling ignored by her husband who is caught up in preparing their 25th wedding anniversary party. The oldest son Erwin (Tomer Pawlicki) has severe facial acne but is obsessed with an upcoming marriage to an Indian girl Mardou (Anandi Gall), selecting paint colors and other distractions to avoid intimate contact with his fiancé. That leaves the only daughter, Eva (Vivian Dierickx), an overweight unpopular misfit whose best friend is her bunny rabbit and who announces to her family (though they ignore her) that she is participating in a school project to bring German exchange students to learn English by living with Dutch families. The German lad Veit (handsome and talented 19 year old Rafael Gareisen) arrives and is polite, thoughtful, caring, gentle, organized, spiritually centered, who also loves to party and be a proper house guest. The film's story is how Veit changes everyone in this family: introducing Evert to his little African friend Ngiri (Nicanor Zinga) over Skype and Evert elects to help the poverty stricken lad by sending money; introducing Etty to meditation that allows Etty to loses her pent up anger and sadness; Introducing Erwin to his sexuality (very subtly); and equally subtly deflowering the ugly chubby pathetic and very needy Eva. The result of Veit's 2 week stay dramatically changes this family, outing secrets that have been hurtful and making them care for each other in a normal and healthy, loving fashion.
It all comes together with many more sidebars of action that emphasize the fragility of each of the characters. Yes, it has humorous moments, but the overall message is a tender one and is very ell presented. In Dutch and English with subtitles.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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