Lea is an immaculate 30-something wife whose husband's job in real estate allows her an enviably glossy lifestyle. The word 'emancipation' simply isn't in her vocabulary and as long as the money rolls in, all is rosy. So, when Harry Jr. arrives, she is a little traumatized at having to swap canapés for nappies. The result is a brave but hilarious story about a woman who fights to get her past - and her present - firmly back on track.Written by
For Bitter Or Worse
Written by Anouk Teeuwe, Martin Gjerstad, Aben Eubanks, Tore Johansson
Performed by Anouk Teeuwe
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Wonderful performance by Carice van Houten in this drama film. Definitely a must-watch if you're even remotely interested in drama films.
Lea, played by Carice van Houten, is a stewardess married to Harry (Waldemar Torenstra) who is in the real estate business. Their life seems to be going well, they live in a nice spacious home and they have a happy marriage that they consume regularly (as shown in the first couple of minutes, keeping with the Dutch tradition). Then they decide to have a child and Lea falls into a postpartum depression...
Contrary to what IMDb might say, this is certainly not a comedy. It has some moments which light up the film, but I merely smiled when they were on screen. They were brilliant, yes, but not meant to cause a moment of hysteric laughter, something I associate with the label 'comedy'. I'd much rather label this solely as a drama and romantic film.
Carice van Houten, probably Holland's most popular actress of today (and for good reason), has delivered. She is phenomenal in every scene, whether she has to be happy living her perfect, glossed-over life before the baby, or having a difficult birth, or playing an utterly desperate woman. She's so very believable that you can't help but love her character, even though this is a difficult subject and some of her actions would be incomprehensible otherwise. It's the genius of the scriptwriter and Carice's acting that makes you understand and sympathise.
Waldemar Torentstra does his job very well, and being unfamiliar with his work I am definitely interested in seeing more of him. However, I don't know if the script asked for this but, I'd have loved to have him be a bit more extreme in some scenes. I feel like he's been holding back, and while I'm not sure if he's been asked to do so by the director I think it would have been a good decision to completely let go in some scenes, giving the film that little extra push. Having said that (I don't want to give anything away) maybe this is just a matter of personal preference.
Overall, this film gripped me in a way no other Dutch film has done for me so far. Of all films I've seen in my lifetime, this film definitely holds one of the top spots. I was blown away and would recommend it to anyone, whatever language you may speak, just get a DVD with subtitles.
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