Voor een verloren soldaat (1992) Poster

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8/10
A great film
tre_gibbs29 November 2006
I will be the first to admit that the subject matter is a bit risqué for the typical American movie goer. However, keep in mind that this is told exclusively from the viewpoint of the child. It is also done in a realistic and yet romantic way. The child is obviously longing for comfort and security, having been removed from the security of his family during WWII. In addition to being placed into a foster home, a pubescent Jeroen finds himself realizing his budding sexuality is that of one who is attracted to the same sex, which also adds to the feelings of loneliness and isolation. This film deals with a difficult topic, but does it in a way that simply tells a story with enormous feeling and sophistication.

It reminds me of being a young man and wondering what it would be like to feel safe and comforted in the arms of someone older with whom I had complete trust and with whom I was enamored.

Not everyone will see it this way - only the pure of heart.
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Fearless look at first love
scottsteaux16 February 2002
VOOR EEN VERLOREN SOLDAAT (FOR A LOST SOLDIER) is a startlingly frank look at a young boy's love affair with a Canadian soldier during the last days of World War II. Thirteen-year-old Jeroen (Maarten Smit) is sent by his parents from his home in Amsterdam to the countryside because of the food shortages in the cities. He is there when the Allied troops liberate the Netherlands, effectively ending the war for the Dutch people. Jeroen meets and is immediately attracted to Walt (Andrew Kelley), one of the Canadian soldiers. The resulting love affair is handled with extraordinary sensitivity and frankness; this story would never have been filmed in the US. Despite Jeroen's being underage, there is no suggestion of child abuse; indeed, at certain points the film makes clear that the young boy is pursuing the older man. Told in flashback, this achingly romantic film has a dreamlike quality that leaves you wanting more.
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10/10
Boyhood Memories and Forbidden Love
thinker169117 November 2004
The Film " For A Lost Soldier " has established itself as a classic. Based on the autobiography of Rudi van Danzi who writes of his early experiences in war torn Europe. He shares his boyhood and how he was separated from his family, sent to the dutch countryside for safety. A lonely, shy youth, he shares the freedom of his liberated country with Canadian soldiers. One of which realizes the boy's 'special' loneliness and befriends him. In the process, the two share a brief forbidden love, establishing the later adult memories which Danzi uses to revitalizes his depleted inspiration. Seen by some, as perverted, the film is nevertheless readily accepted by many others as a heartwarming and sympathetic view of youthful homosexuality. The author, director and actors earn fulsome praise. *****
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10/10
Beautiful because it makes no statements.
triangulate5 January 2003
I was happy that I was able to see this movie. I was very moved by it, by the truth of the way the relationship between the boy and the man was shown. I was also happy to see it on the IMDb, and know that Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, etc., had not been able to get all the tapes burned.

The wonderful thing about the movie is that it avoids judgment-- negative or positive--about the relationship. The relationship happened. The people involved were not bad. And yet, the fact that the boy never got over the love of that man suggests the inherent inbalance in that type of relationship. Do you think the soldier went through the rest of his life trying to find the boy?

At any rate, these are just my questions. The movie is innocent, and does not make judgments, ask questions, or give answers, as befits a beautiful work of art. This movie needed to be made.
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8/10
A Difficult Subject; A Beautiful, Touching Film; A Problematic Stance
gftbiloxi3 June 2005
Loosely based on the autobiography of Rudi van Danzi, FOR A LOST SOLIDER tells the story of a Dutch boy's emotional and sexual relationship with a young adult American solider during World War II. The film presents the relationship as a loving and often magical one--and asks the viewer to consider if such relationships are intrinsically abusive or if they might, in extraordinary instances, have validity and even integrity.

It should be very obvious that the subject and issues raised are likely to provoke a knee-jerk reaction in most people--but even so, FOR A LOST SOLDIER has remarkable delicacy. The film is not explotational in any way, it is beautifully acted and filmed, and the difficult material is handled by the director, writer, and cinematographer with considerable grace.

All of this said, however, the film is so careful to avoid the obvious pitfalls that in some respects it fails to make any significant statement. What ultimately emerges is a memory--the film is presented as an extended flashback--but exactly how that memory reverberates in present time is vaguely expressed at best. And while the film does not consider this particular relationship to be deliberately abusive, it begs but never answers the question of intrinsic abusive, leaving the viewer to do battle with that knotty issue entirely on their own.

Those who watch FOR A LOST SOLIDER thoughtfully and with an open mind will find it forces them to define their own ideas about what is and is not abusive. This may actually be point of the film, to motivate an examination of personal values--but if so it is a point made by a very, at times almost impossibly indirect implication. Recommended for sophisticated viewers, but even they are more likely to find it more problematic than substantial.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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This is a thoughtful, tasteful look at a forbidden subject.
Alan-8930 April 1999
With all the furor over "Lolita," one might think a film such as "For a Lost Soldier," the story of a barely pubescent Dutch boy who has a sexual affair with a Canadian soldier in the closing days of WWII, would raise a few eyebrows as well. Perhaps there is a different standard for the relationship between an "older" man (albeit, in this case, an older man barely out of his teens) and a child. But, for those inclined to explore this issue on film, "For a Lost Soldier" does an admirable job of making such a relationship seem acceptable, and perhaps even inevitable, in view of the hysteria that accompanied the Liberation of Europe by the Allied troops. The relationship between Walt and Jaroen seems particularly idyllic when contrasted with those of Walt's comrades-in-arms with the village girls, who graduate almost overnight from schoolgirls to strumpets. If a book version exists, I look forward to reading it.
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9/10
A thought provoking film - and a very sensitive subject
robert-arbon5 October 2006
A haunting film, sympathetically tackled from the child's perspective. It seems that there are large (and probably important) sections of the book which are not covered in the film. It is difficult, therefore, to completely understand Jeroen's feelings for his 'buddy'.

Whilst the boy's distance from his parents (mother only?) as an evacuee is clear early on there would appear to be a loneliness which is not truly explored. Jeroen gains some attachment to the (father) man of the house whilst appearing alienated from the children (especially the son) and the youngsters evacuated with him.

One is left with the impression that this is a genuine love and true friendship (which both protagonists need - they are both a distance from their families after all) between a boy and a young man and there is no sense of the 'darker side' of how that relationship was initiated by the older of the two - albeit the one muted sex scene would not have been shown in a UK-made film I am sure.

The man does not handle his departure well. If he truly cared for the boy then he certainly did not prepare him for the loss which impacted the rest of Jeroen's life.

I would like to read the book - but there appear to be only two in the world for sale at extortionate prices. This film needs a sympathetic viewing from those whose own lives may mirror some of the events in some way.
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A very interesting film
BBB-621 July 2000
I have watched this film many times and I recently viewed it again. The only really interesting part of the movie is the relationship between the young boy and the soldier. Everything else that happens in the film is really just to establish why this young man would be drawn to someone kind and caring. What I wish would have been delved into more was how the soldier came to feel the way he does about the kid. He talks a little about his past with his father and mother but never really explains himself personally. He does not look like he would have ever had a problem getting a girl, so his "prediliction" becomes even more a mystery.

I really applaud the fact that the film maker was able to tell this story so sensitively without it being lurid. It is a shame I think that a film like this could never have been made in America, "the land of the free".
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8/10
Search for comfort during times of uncertainty and loneliness
mdm-119 August 2005
The many favorable reviews hailing this film as a cinematic delight are well taken. The delicate subject matter of a brief romantic relationship between an allied WWII soldier and a young boy in the occupied Nehterlands received a beautiful treatment. Without becoming lurid or vulgar, it is implied that the innocent "child" and the young soldier engaged in a sex act.

Many layers of sub-plots surround the story. The people in the village setting appear deeply religious, constantly learning how to be proper followers of Scriptural guidance. Sermons given to the locals, amidst the visiting soldiers are both thankful for the liberators' arrival, yet warning the "young women" not to be tempting these men to be lead astray. It was a subtle switch from preaching in Englsih, to the native Dutch that showed who the audience for that particular part of the sermon was.

There are many references to sexual tensions. The teenage boys suddenly notice the physical beauty in teenage girls. Without doubt, there was plenty of "fraternizing" between soldiers and local women. The scene where the young main character is out "exploring" with a slightly older boy is charged with sexual innuendo. The boy's "step father" is quite observant about the "goings on", yet offers no direct objections, only indirect and vague advice.

The question of whether a mere child can give consent to sexual activity with an adult remains. The picture of the soldiers who came to liberate the town is one of men who felt entitlement. They felt they had every right to "have fun" after saving the people from their evil oppressors. Although the young girls, and even our 12 year old main character, were willing participants in any "affairs", the sense that the soldiers felt entitled to receive whatever they desired in exchange for their desperately needed Military help, and the many hand-outs of Life-Savers, Gum, Cigarettes etc. changes nothing about their feeling of power over the situation.

For a grown man, a love affair of a few days can hardly be considered "love", but for a child whose innocence is forever lost, this is an affair they will never forget. Love is something not to be trifled with. A child's innocence should be regarded with no less respect. Whatever the "feelings" of the heart may have been, a 12 year old does well to give it a bit more time before seeking that first love.
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8/10
For A Lost Soldier
aled-63 February 2006
I don't know if a boy of 12 can be attracted sexually to an adult male as was depicted in this movie. For me it raises the question of at what age does a person who is going to grow up gay become interested in someone of the same sex. It is obvious that the young soldier takes advantage of the innocence of a youngster although it is suggested too that the feelings of the soldier are more than merely sexual. The dance scene implies that there was love. The end of the movie and the title implies that the boy remembers the soldier in later years and as a mature adult with affection and perhaps longing so one is tempted to conclude that relationship with the young soldier though brief was meaningful. I was reminded of the relationship of the boy and the old man in Cinema Paradiso which although certainly not of a sexual nature was also very important to both the boy and the man. For a Lost Soldier gave me much to think about and is likely to provoke much thought in the intelligent viewer.
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8/10
A beautifully told story of beautiful love...
drbagrov6 September 2008
My deep and heartfelt gratitude to the makers of the film and the actors:superbly done! What makes this film really UNIQUE among others of the same genre ( friendship between an adult and a teenager) is the sense of MEASURE and TACTFULNESS.Not for a moment do the viewers believe that there might be something 'dirty' about the relationship of a grown-up soldier and a boy of thirteen.And not for a moment does the film descend to the level of cheap sentimentality.Bravo!It shows love,true love (which is proved by the later recollections of the older Jeroen)that never ends, and that the boy can be proud of. I am an American and am ashamed to admit that such a film is a 'mission impossible' for my compatriot film makers to accomplish,the feat they would never have guts to do: we still live in the Middle Ages of Political Correctness Holy Inquisition.How sad...
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10/10
Touching and Beautiful
William24 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This intriguing film challenges the notion that sexual contact between children and adults is always bad for the child. However, it also raises the issue that such relationships typically may not continue into the child's adulthood, and the abandonment can be as painful for the child as the relationship was gratifying. The film takes the child's view of the experience at the time and later as an adult in middle age. The film's verisimilitude made me feel like this either could be autobiographical or a gay man's vivid fantasy of a possible childhood relationship with a kind and handsome soldier. The cinematography is simply beautiful, and the characters are developed in three dimensions with sympathy. I've never seen another film like it.
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6/10
A bland but picturesque film with a very beautiful actor (the soldier)
superstition21 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Parts of this film are weak (the dance studio scenes in particular), and it failed to have much of an impact overall. Despite this, it is worth watching, not only because of the beauty of the soldier, but because of the picturesqueness of the landscape and family life in the protagonist's memory.

One strength of the film is the avoidance of stridency. Hollywood films tend to exaggerate everything for dramatic effect, and it's a refreshing change here to be free from that. I particularly liked the stepfather's attitude toward their relationship—that's life. That theme pervades the film, and while it makes it a bit milquetoast, it also avoids the soap opera plus cartoon style Hollywood film-making tone.

Someone here wrote:

"And yet, the fact that the boy never got over the love of that man suggests the inherent imbalance in that type of relationship. Do you think the soldier went through the rest of his life trying to find the boy?"

I'd never get over a guy that beautiful myself, no matter how old I was when I was with him! Actually, when I was about twenty-three, I spent a weekend with a graduate student and he was so gorgeous that I have never completely gotten over him. If had been really young and had been with someone like him, the desire would have probably been even more intense, though. When I was that age of the protagonist in the film, I definitely wished for a relationship and wouldn't have turned down a guy like that solider.
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9/10
Classic
imdb15 April 2006
I do not quickly give a ten... and perhaps I shouldn't give this movie a ten if I'm honest, because normally I only gave a 10 when I love the music AND the story AND the special effects AND fall in love one of the main characters etc... in other words when the movie is totally perfect. On the other hand, I could say that I give a ten to a movie that really gets into my soul and causes me to still feel strong emotions a week later.

I suppose this movie, on my scale, is actually a 9. Nevertheless, it *deserves* a ten. It's one of a kind. I have the utmost respect for the people who made this movie, and the way they made it. I'd like to especially thank Maarten Smit for taking it upon him to do this role. Thank you Maarten, a LOT of people will respect you for this - more than you know.

A wonderful movie, a must see for everyone who knows that love isn't limited by age boundaries.
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10/10
Friendship and love - of a boy and his hero
ninoguapo16 December 2005
I have to admit that I haven't read the book and after reading comments about it – I am not sure that I will read it at all. The movie however is superb. I have watched it several times by now – with friends of mine and alone. The main character is a young Dutch boy - Jeroen, played by Maarten Smit . He falls in love with Canadian soldier during the time he spends away from Amsterdam in a small village. He is send there by his mother, in order to avoid the starvation in the big Dutch cities during the world war when the food there was never enough.

While watching this movie – you will have to decide for yourself if the relationship presented in the movie is acceptable to you or not. The theme song stuck in my mind – as well as and one of my favorite scenes in which Jeroen and Walt run in the field in a very unique way. To me this movie is mainly about friendship, then love – the relationship with Walt made the boy happy, just look the way he smiles when they have their picture taken in one of the scenes. At the same time the ending leaves some questions unanswered- both to the boys and to me as a viewer – was the Canadian soldier just taking an advantage of the boy? And if that is the case I will be disgusted from him. But what if he really loved – but then why he left him? As the movie focuses on the memories of Jeroen , we see that even as an adult he hasn't forget his hero- so there was love and one can only hope this feeling was shared by both main characters.
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10/10
One of the Most Sensitive Stories of Love on Film
gradyharp25 July 2010
FOR A LOST SOLDIER (Voor een verloren soldaat) is a 1992 Dutch film based on a novel by Rudi van Dantzig, adapted for the screen by Don Bloch, and directed by Roeland Kerbosch whose understanding of the concept of love is remarkably sensitive. Some viewers may mislabel this film as inappropriate celebration of 'abnormal life styles' and that would be a sad comment on the level of consciousness that hopefully we have overcome. Erase all old tapes and view this beautiful film as a pure exploration of the human being's ability to love and perhaps it will become the classic it deserves to be.

The film is a reverie: a choreographer Jeroen Boman (Jeroen Krabbé) is distracted from his work by words and ideas and scenes that make him recall his childhood, and what follows is an explanation of his origins. The memory goes back to Holland in the 1940s as WW II is growing ever more a threat of Germany's determination to control the world. Because of the threat of invasion and because of the paucity of food and essentials to living the families begin to send their children in trucks to the countryside where the children will be fed and protected by farmers far enough away from the cities to possibly escape annihilation by the German forces. Maarten Smit appears as the young Jeroen Boman, transported to a farm where he feels out of place and quickly makes friends with another 'outsider'. Together they discover a crashed airplane in a field and Jeroen begins to get in touch with his feelings. Shortly the Canadians land in the little village to provide protection for the people, and while the soldiers all are attracted to the acutely available and willing girls, one soldier Walt Cook (Andrew Kelley) sites Jeroen and treats him well: the two are indeed separated by age but Walt is very young and very kind and gives Joeran the attention he longs for. Very gradually and very subtly Walt and Jeroen find a mutual love and the two, isolated and lonely, begin a love affair - an affair while very strong in feeling is handled so delicately that it seems completely natural. Eventually the Canadian troops are to leave and Walt departs on his own, leaving Jeroen to the returning attention of his family as they come to gather him home.

As the flashbacks reveal it is this memory of first love that the adult Jeroen is trying to capture in his choreographic story. The film ends with memories of the past evaporating in the air, memories that remain indelible in the adult Jeroen's mind. The entire cast is excellent, but it is the very straightforward demonstration of love between Andrew Kelley and Maarten Smit, under the wise guidance of director Roeland Kerbosch that makes this film so memorable. it belongs in the personal library of all those who respect courage and delicacy in the art of filmmaking.

Grady Harp
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10/10
For A Lost soldier
colinirwin119 June 2008
Fantastic film.Shows EXACTLY what boys of that age go through,the feelings of puberty.All boys feel some kind of feeling for someone of the same sex at that age,even if they are not prepared to admit it.This film dealt with this issue like it is.It showed how some boys never forget their first feeling of "love" and some move on.The boy in the film never forgot his and lived with it all his life.It is an outrage that Walt,the object of the young boys feelings in the film,was seen as some kind of "peado".He never encouraged the relationship as the boy,Jerome, later admits in the book he wrote many years later on which the film is based.This film had all the right emotions for that time.1945.The soldier away from home in a strange land meeting the boy going through puberty.A lovely,lovely film and very well acted and directed.
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7/10
Just a realistic narration of war-time Friesland
Bene Cumb25 January 2015
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands and knowing its language, I have been interested in the Dutch cinema as well, particularly if Rutger Hauer or Jeroen Krabbé present. There have lots of films on the WWII been made, nicely versatile ones, as the period was one of the most painful and complex in the country's history. Thus, I was eager to learn how the war era was made compatible with such a sensitive topic like man-boy relationship.

But the latter was not much visible in Voor een verloren soldaat (perhaps in the autobiographical novel of the same title - I have not read that); it was even not clearly visible if there was some mutual erotics at all. What we saw was a 20+ years foreign soldier acting as a caring mentor, showing a boy far from home and family new angles of life; besides, I do not believe that showing affection towards a boy would have been normally accepted by both the religious Dutchmen and militant Canadians in those days...

Anyway, the mood in the film is pleasant, performances realistic, and viewers obtain a nice overview of Friesland under slackening Nazi occupation. But do not try to find any sensationalism, as mentioned, it is a good depiction of friendship - with some affection - during a war period when many things and deeds are perceived in another way.
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review of "For a Lost Soldier" / Voor een verloren soldaat (1992)
de_tensai30 November 2004
It is not just the flow of relationship between the Jereon and Martin that appeals to me in this movie. But also of the life of the boy since the beginning he lived in a foster home until he left after the war. It is very poignant and everyone stands out as an integral part of the movie. Even the local men who, after the liberation, loitered around the Allied camp rounding up their kids or simply being curious. I particularly like Jereon's step-father. He is wise, gentle, forgiving, gentle and kind. His last words & expressions to Jereon as they parted made a catch in my throat.
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9/10
On Intergenerational Relationships
harry-769 February 2001
"Voor een verloren soldaat" presents an interesting and challenging relationship: that of a young Dutch boy and a Canadian soldier at the end of World War II.

The enactment, presented as a long flashback, prompts the question of whether that relationship, which became intimate, is a natural and healthy one, or whether it innately is a prelude to long-term pain and confusion.

The boy, Jeroen, seems to handle the relationship well and enjoy it; however, in later years as an adult, his attitude and manner appears to have changed. What was childhood fun and relief from the boredom of war-town Holland is now in maturation, more painful and harrowing. The reflection now seems to invoke loss, disappointment and regret.

Can a child and an adult ever engage in a 'peer' relationship? While there may very well be exceptions, our thinking is that this rarely happens. The reality is that the adult always has a decided advantage over the child. There is no substitute for experience, and it therefore behooves the adult to respect the child, and not exploit them. While the child's values and personality is in the process of forming, the adult's natural responsibility is to assist, without imposing his/her own selfish inclinations upon the youth.

While the Canadian soldier seems kind enough, the mere fact that he has the experiential 'upper-hand' places him in control of that relationship. The result is subtle yet contrived guidance down the path toward loss of virginity. What may appear to be mutually respectful in this dramatization may really be disguised adult self-indulgence.

Who can absolutely say that the relationship was harmful to the young Jeroen? Based on his adult reaction to the memorabilia of his youth, however, Jeroen's final response seems to convey far more sadness than pleasure.
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9/10
Heartfelt movie without the stigma
abordabor29 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I knew beforehand that the movie was about the romance between an adult and child, however, I was surprised how well the movie presented the topic.

The movie offered fresh insight into situations where the child played a role in instigating the relationship. Jerome was not like the other boys in the movie, and was just as curious as anyone one else at his age. While forced or coerced pedophilia are inappropriate, situations where the child has inclinations towards their sexuality leading to situations like these often might create lasting fond memories.

I find it hard to believe this movie was released over fourteen years ago when it would still be hard pressed to enter production here in the United States.

Lastly, I thought the relationship between Jerome and the soldier was longer than a few days as some suggested in the comments. It seemed to me like they were they there for a few weeks and their friendship gradually turned into something more. (Edit: The brown spots left by their tents is more proof they stayed more than a few days)

Additionally, while some have commented that the soldier left without telling Jerome is indication that he took advantage of the child, I think he left without telling to spare Jerome and himself some heartache. I felt it was appropriate considering their relationship was extremely unorthodox and therefore they could not say their goodbyes in a similar fashion to their peers.
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A very nice low key movie
David Stetler16 August 2001
This is an unusual film. Everyone in the movie is a nice decent ordinary person. It is the story of Jeroen, a choreographer in present day Amsterdam.

Jeroen is developing a new dance to be included as part of an upcoming celebration in commemoration of the liberation of the Netherlands after the war. Jeroen insists on speaking English. Ninety nine percent of what he speaks is in English. After a while it starts to get on your nerves because it doesn't seem appropriate. And the dance isn't going too well either. The leader of the dance troupe gently suggests that he try for a tighter focus. And so we go into the flashback which comprises most of the movie.

Jeroen is a young teenager in 1945. He is sent by his mother along with many other children to live with volunteer families in the countryside where living conditions are better than in the city. He is sexually aware and gay but things just aren't working out too well. His friend Jan knows about him. One day after playing in the river they remove most of their clothing so it can dry. Just for a game Jan strips naked and pretends to sleep. Joroen of course can't help looking even though he tries not to. Later when they're called to go home Jan tells Jeroen "don't tell anyone you saw my dick". And then there's Henk, the farmer's son. Henk and Jeroen share the same bed because there's no other room. But Jeroen is pretty much invisible to Henk. And so it goes until the Canadian army comes to town.

This is the only part of the movie I didn't like. The soldiers are depicted as soft, undisciplined and lazy. More like tourists than soldiers. That's not the way it is, especially in wartime.

And then Jeroen met Walt Cook, a gay soldier. Walt tells Jeroen "I knew what kind of a fellow you were the first time I saw you." "What kind of a fellow are you, Jeroen?" Jeroen doesn't speak English. Who cares?

They quickly become good friends. Really good friends. But they stop just short. Until one day Jeroen tells Walt he wants more. The film is so low key, not boring, just ordinary, and I was only half watching so it startled me when Jeroen practically broke into song when he told Walt he was ready.

Eventually the soldiers left without warning. The guys had souvenir photos of each other, but they were destroyed for various reasons. Jeroen was attending school and on the last day before he was to return to Amsterdam and his mother the headmaster assigned them the task of writing an essay "What Liberation Means To Me". And to illustrate it if they wished. Jeroen was still in his seat long after everyone else had left. He had been thinking about Walt, but regular people don't want to hear about that kind of thing. His paper was blank except for the title "What Liberation Means To Me", yes, in English, for the 99th time. Why? Because Walt spoke English, that's why.
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10/10
Achingly Romantic Story, Well Told.
Scott Amundsen6 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
FOR A LOST SOLDIER is a film that could only have been made outside the United States. A tale of inter-generational love told without any judgments or commentary, the movie offers the truth of such a love story without taking the filmmaker or his actors to task.

I myself had a brief affair with a young man (about nineteen) when I was fifteen. I pursued him; not the other way around. And this movie shows clearly in a few scenes that young Jeroen is pursuing Walt; he's fallen in love with him and despite the fear that engenders in the boy, he pursues the older boy (Walt is really barely out of adolescence himself, as were many soldiers in the War) with a determination that is quite impossible to describe or to ignore.

Unfortunately the affair ends abruptly when the Liberators leave the country. Jeroen is heartbroken and tries for quite some time to find his lost soldier, but in the end he has to face the truth: Walt is gone.

There is something quietly devastating about this simple, quiet tale of love between two boys separated by years and language. It would be easy to label Walt a sexual predator but I know more about this sort of thing than most people; not only does he not pursue or "groom" Jeroen, but when he says "I love you" to the boy, it sounds like the God's truth.

An achingly beautiful film that rewards multiple viewings.
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Only the open-minded, very tolerant Dutch...
Greg Couture15 May 2003
I caught this one during a brief engagement at a theater here that shows films that never make it to the suburban multiplexes, and, not knowing much about it, I wasn't surprised that one of our city's very few "art houses" was willing to book it.

Reading the other comments on this IMDb site, the various "takes" pretty well sum up what I presumed would be a varied audience's take here in North America on this modest film. I thought it quite well-done, handling the subject matter as, possibly, only the Dutch would do it, that is, matter-of-factly and without too romantic an overlay. It seemed entirely credible to me that the character of the young Canadian soldier would act somewhat casually toward the younger object of his desire. In a wartime setting stories can happen that don't always lead to a lifelong commitment and those civilians who get left behind, fortunate enough to have survived the wartime strife but bereft of an attachment that does not endure, may have to struggle with memories that haunt them in ways that are not very constructive. I do remember wishing that Jeroen Krabbe, an interesting actor, playing the main character, Jeroen, as an adult, had more to do, but telling his part of this tale was obviously not something that the makers of this film wanted to focus upon.
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6/10
I didn't really feel it
iago-610 April 2006
I had seen this movie about 10 years ago, and it didn't make that much of an impression, despite its subject matter. But I thought it might be ripe for re-viewing, so I watched it again last night. And it still didn't make much of an impression.

Jeroen Krabbé (best known in the U.S. as the villain from The Fugitive) plays a choreographer who is overseeing rehearsals of a work of his, about "freedom." He gives his dancers vague directions that they can't really follow, and shows them videotapes of the Netherlands' liberation from the Nazis, and his dancers obviously just want him to shut up. So he returns to the Netherlands to recharge his creativity, and the majority of the movie is his flashback to his childhood.

12-year-old Jeroen (also the character's name in the movie) is shipped off from Amsterdam to the Netherlands in order to escape the Nazis. He arrives at the house of this Dutch family (who really do wear wooden shoes), led by the hhhhhhhhhhhandsome Hait, who very unobtrusively makes Jeroen welcome in his home.

So there's some adolescent shenanigans, then the liberation happens and some Canadian soldiers come into town to stay for a bit. One of them, Walt, takes an immediate shine to Jeroen, and pursues him pretty relentlessly. Their friendship grows, and I don't know, maybe I'm just way too outwardly gay, but the stepfather was warning Jeroen that "we don't do that sort of thing here" before it even seemed to me like anything had HAPPENED. But soon enough they are tastefully romping in bed together, and laying quietly together as Jeroen protests at being called a baby. "No," says Walt, "I just meant that you're my baby." Anyway, it goes on, and once it's over, we see that the adult Jeroen has somehow used his perusing of these memories to improve his choreography and the attitude of his dancers—though their work still looks really banal to me.

I just didn't feel it. As a homo with a big-time Daddy complex, I expected to be much more moved, or even involved, in the story. But the whole thing stayed at a distance. I never felt the love that developed between the characters, or the admiration or awe that Jeroen had for Walt—as I said, it looked to me like they were just good friends, when the people in the film knew exactly what was going on. I suspect this happened because the filmmakers were so worried about keeping the whole thing tasteful—which they do—that the deeper emotions that might have stirred up more troubling moral issues were flattened out. On the other hand, they do succeed in portraying Walt as somewhat predatory without making him a monster or creepy molester, and at portraying Jeroen's budding homosexuality, as well as his lack of comprehension of what's really going on between him and Walt.

-- Hey, check out Cinema de Merde, my website devoted to bad and cheesy movies (with a big subsection on gay films). You can get the url from my email address above...
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