The Marriage Escape (2020) Poster

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A small but delightfull movie
ph-nijman2 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
One of those movies that will stay with you for a long time. Recognizable situations with recognizable people. The actors are good and the knowing smile in the end tells the whole story.
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a little gem
victordelavieter4 July 2020
At a funeral, a senior veterinarian falls into a crisis after he realises his life is run by his wife, just like that of his deceased father-in-law. Slowly he begins a rebellion, faking memory loss. Seasoned comedian, actor an musician Herman Finkers actsout this descent into absurdity out with his trademark deadpan delvivery, resembling Bill Nighy. Excellent acting by female lead, internationally know Johanne ter Steege and many others, excellent balance between absurd intermezzos and dram,a excellent buildup to apotheoses in in German wood, at a police station... This is not one of those loud, 'look at me I'm acting' comedies Dutch film is sadly known for. This is, in the skillfull hands of veteren filmmaker Johan Nijenhuis, a mature movie about real people, asking serious questions, and in Finkers's many wonderful oneliners, giving answers too.
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Joyful surprise !
e-cornelisse16 February 2020
One of the best Dutch movies of the past years. Spoken dialect is the finishing touch of a well written and well played story. Good choice of cast. I had a smile on my face for the entire movie. Literally and as a matter of speaking a breath of fresh air. This movie has merit ("heeft zin" in Dutch).
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Lovely all the way!
tbusschers9 August 2020
Warning: Spoilers
To be honest, Herman Finkers reminded me of Tom Hanks. Likable. Human. Lovely! I had a constant smile on my face. It's a small movie though, but i think it's very well balanced with the fact it's about letting go of loved ones. (Or not)

Also, the down to earth mentality of the people in this region is portrayed very well.

Light, slightly emotional and above all: funny!
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Monumental Low Saxon Interpersonal Power Struggle
MatnvannPlatn12 June 2021
Feminist university professor Gedda (Johanna ter Steege) firmly believes that a man can only flourish if their wife takes care of everything in life. So that's what she does for main character and middle-aged veterinary surgeon Jan (Herman Finkers). When Gedda's father Oarend (Jan Roerink) passes away and is buried - despite his explicit wish to be cremated - Jan sees his own life reflected in his father-in-law's, and snaps. He decides to feign the onset of Alzheimer's disease to get away from Johanna, and to fulfil Oarend's last wish: that his ashes be scattered at the Loreley in Germany, a popular pilgrims' destination.

Finkers, a well-known comedian from the Dutch region of Twente, has adapted Radek Bajgar's originally Czech filmscript for Teorie tygra in Finkersian style. Whereas his comedy shows are extremely witty and full of wordplay, calling this film a 'comedy' in the true sense would be a misnomer. Yes, there are some minor smile and chuckle moments, but don't expect to double over from laughter. Some scenes border on the absurd or dark, others are more subtle.

The Marriage Escape is the first feature-length comedic drama fully spoken in Twents, a regional variety of Low Saxon. This heavily minoritised language of the Netherlands and Germany is spoken by some 5 to 6 million people today. It's rather difficult to keep a neutral outlook (and by the way, should we?) when you're from this region yourself and speak the language in which this whole film is shot, because it has never been done so well before. To anyone from Twente or neighbouring regions, The Marriage Escape is full of linguistic nostalgia. Its significance within the broader range of language preservation efforts is undisputed. This alone makes it worth ten stars. But that should not eclipse everything else about the film. That's why it needs a fairer, more thorough look.

Born in Twente himself, veteran film director Johan Nijenhuis knows his region well, and has enough experience to lend his shots a lush, dreamy, spring-like appearance. The scenes with the rolling, misty hills of north-eastern Twente and the adjacent German region of Bentheim lend it a unique softness that would befit any promotional video for a local board of tourism. It could even be considered a bit utopian.

One thing well-written is Gedda's absolute nightmarish doting on Jan. The unrelenting, near-dictatorial hijacking of Jan's decision-making faculties is enough to make any male viewer cringe, and it will undoubtedly have led to some marital quarrels off-screen. It is a recurring theme among all couples in the film, who continuously struggle with their interpersonal power relations. From Gedda's old mother Sinie (Annie Beumers) who continues to decide everything for Oarend even after his death, to Gedda and Jan, and daughter Liesbeth (Leonie ter Braak) who is dating a neurotic control freak Erik (Ferdi Stofmeel).

All the main characters go through some major developments. Gedda has her beliefs firmly shaken by Jan's actions, while Jan highly enjoys his newly acquired freedom. Erik slowly reveals his true nature to daughter Liesbeth who starts to question her own decisions, while son Peter (Stef Assen) and his girlfriend Ilse (Aniek Stokkers) choose a convenient lie over the hard truth. Well, I say 'hard'...

The heavy focus on the language aspect has significantly reduced the pool of possible actors. It is clear that not every actor is comfortable speaking it, while some speakers aren't comfortable actors. Finkers himself, for instance, is in the last category. Especially because of his national fame as a comedian, it is difficult to separate the tragicomic character of Jan from Finkers himself. Johanna ter Steege is the only main actor who grew up speaking the language at a native level. This gives her all the freedom to focus on her acting instead, which she has been doing professionally for decades. She showcases her talent in a stellar performance. Another surprisingly natural speaker is Daphne Bunskoek, although her role as candid photographer Julia seems somewhat superfluous and not very essential to the story, if only to convince Jan that there are women who aren't as possessive as his own wife.

Despite all this, The Marriage Escape is a monumental film within the broader strive for more recognition for Low Saxon. It is also a mirror to many couples who having been living together for years. It is well-shot, and it was chosen as the 2020 Dutch Film of the Year (although it isn't Dutch), attracting millions of viewers and high praise since its release.

Highly enjoyable for an evening of light entertainment, but no ground-breaking stuff, apart from the language aspect.
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Entertaining, subtle and humorous
EDiepenhorst17 February 2020
I went to this movie not knowing anything about the plot but I am familiar with the humor of H. Finkers; a well known dutch comedian most known for his influences and connections from the eastern dutch 'Twentsch' area where he also resides. In fact this entire movie plays in that area of the Netherlands as well as Germany (but anyone from 'Twente' is pretty well known with the locations).

The plot is simple and the message subtle. I don't want to spoil it for anyone but it is mainly about relationships and what we look for in our partners and how these things can change over time. The movie explains this sometimes with humor and sometimes with emotion.

I like Finkers subtle sense of humor, he makes you listen to what is being said in order to catch the humor he's trying to express. It isn't in your face and the sketches all have to do with the message of the film; it has purpose.

Watching this as someone familiar with the culture I had some great laughs and could recognize a lot of the situations. It even made me realize that sometimes I act just as ridiculous as the actors. Summed up it made me a but more self aware.

The acting is great, the plot although sometimes slow is very entertaining. The musical score was very good as well. It is a great family film with a message, not amazing but for a dutch movie it was very good.
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Great positive movie
phjmabrouwer25 December 2021
Wonderful feel good movie with subtle humor. A typical aspect of Herman Finkers is that his humor never insults people, but is very deep. Funny that the world-wide English title is "Saint Hildegard's Little Legs", as it should be "Saint Hildegard's Little Bones".
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How to escape a smothering marriage
robvanbrussel28 April 2021
A great comedy drama situated in the far east of the Netherlands. What a relief from the Amsterdam based movies! The Netherlands has so much more to offer.

Herman Finkers is one of the best Dutch comedians en apparently also a fine actor.
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De beentjes ....
frank-7728618 September 2020
Worth seeing. Still do not know who is st. Hildegard. Language is Twents not deutsch.
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