7.4/10
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The Misfortunates (2009)

De helaasheid der dingen (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 9 April 2010 (USA)
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?

Writers:

Christophe Dirickx (screenplay), Dimitri Verhulst (novel) | 1 more credit »

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8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Vanbaeden Kenneth Vanbaeden ... Kleine Gunther
Valentijn Dhaenens Valentijn Dhaenens ... Gunther
Koen De Graeve ... Celle
Wouter Hendrickx ... Petrol
Johan Heldenbergh ... Breejen
Bert Haelvoet ... Koen
Gilda De Bal Gilda De Bal ... Meetje
Natali Broods ... Rosie
Pauline Grossen Pauline Grossen ... Sylvie
Sofie Palmers Sofie Palmers ... Vriendin Gunther
Guy Dermul Guy Dermul ... Directeur school
Jos Geens Jos Geens ... André
Robbie Cleiren Robbie Cleiren ... Deurwaarder
Sara De Bosschere Sara De Bosschere ... Nele Fockedey
Wout Kelchtermans Wout Kelchtermans ... Kleine Franky
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Storyline

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 | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Belgium | Netherlands

Language:

Dutch | Flemish

Release Date:

9 April 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shittiness of Things See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

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 »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
The "Misfortunates" are those who don't see this film!
29 August 2010 | by klc-16See all my reviews

What is it about Belgian Directors? They manage to make films which are about working-class people, full of hard knocks and everyday misery... and yet, not only is there a joie de vivre between the lines, but sweetness and fun. The Misfortunates reminds me very much of the kind of films by the Frères Dardenne...La Promesse, Le Fils... sort of like Ken Loach, but without the total grimness of his vision.

The story is told from the point of view of a young man remembering his time as a thirteen-year-old... at the point where he is taken away from his family because of the degrading environment. I'm not going to go into a description of the film... simply to say that in all the films mentioned above, what shines out especially are the incredibly realistic performances...you totally forget that these are actors, and you learn something about the way "the other half lives", which may horrify you or disgust you, but somewhere in all that, their humanity wins you over. I find this to be a particularly Belgian trait...I can't think of any serious French films that have this capacity for realism, grittiness and humanity. And the ability to make you like something about all the characters, no matter how objectionable they might be for the most part. And of course, these days, there is nothing comparable coming from America, where everything is formulaic. (The closest I've seen to this kind of realism recently in American film is Winters Bone... which comes close but is too manufactured to work on a deeper level.)

The Misfortunates is not to be missed.


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