• Unrated, 1 hr. 33 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Paula Van der Oest
    In Theaters:
    Mar 2, 2012 Limited
    On DVD:
    Jul 17, 2012
  • Tribeca Films

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Black Butterflies Reviews

Page 1 of 2
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

March 19, 2013
Nice movie, albeit very slow, and depressing.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

August 1, 2013
In 1960 South Africa, Jack Cope(Liam Cunningham) saves Ingrid Jonker(Carice van Houten) from drowning. They bond over the fact that they are both writers; his prose and her poetry. In short time, they fall in love as she moves into his house. But since somebody forgot to get their divorce finalized, marriage is off the table. Which might be for the best as Jack suspects Ingrid of being interested in anything in pants.

"Black Butterflies" has all the elements of a good movie like history, literature, excellent cinematography, lots of period detail and Liam Cunningham who can simply do no wrong. What it does not have is any idea where to start, eventually getting to its point. In fact the movie should have spent more time in Ingrid's childhood, which is what formed who she would become, for better and worse, instead of reductively going for daddy issues.(Well, daddy(Rutger Hauer) was a government censor...)

While Carice van Houten has a go for broke attitude, she does not have an equal level of talent that would allow her to breathe life into such a complicated person. In being a movie about an unconventionial and mentally unstable woman, the movie takes the most conventional approach possible by focusing on the relationship between Jack and Ingrid. In any case, these people's melodramatic issues cannot compare to those suffering under the heel of Apartheid at the same time.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

August 1, 2013
In 1960 South Africa, Jack Cope(Liam Cunningham) saves Ingrid Jonker(Carice van Houten) from drowning. They bond over the fact that they are both writers; his prose and her poetry. In short time, they fall in love as she moves into his house. But since somebody forgot to get their divorce finalized, marriage is off the table. Which might be for the best as Jack suspects Ingrid of being interested in anything in pants.

"Black Butterflies" has all the elements of a good movie like history, literature, excellent cinematography, lots of period detail and Liam Cunningham who can simply do no wrong. What it does not have is any idea where to start, eventually getting to its point. In fact the movie should have spent more time in Ingrid's childhood, which is what formed who she would become, for better and worse, instead of reductively going for daddy issues.(Well, daddy(Rutger Hauer) was a government censor...)

While Carice van Houten has a go for broke attitude, she does not have an equal level of talent that would allow her to breathe life into such a complicated person. In being a movie about an unconventionial and mentally unstable woman, the movie takes the most conventional approach possible by focusing on the relationship between Jack and Ingrid. In any case, these people's melodramatic issues cannot compare to those suffering under the heel of Apartheid at the same time.
May 4, 2013
Great movie and it's on Netflix.
December 6, 2012
Though the film revolves around an interesting eccentric character, it did not manage to capture a solid plot, nor did it seem to have managed to provide a climax or any points to make the film as important as the woman it portrays.
August 22, 2012
no words. no, wait! AWESOME!
March 2, 2012
Always feels like a life schematically condensed rather than intimately explored.
March 2, 2012
Beautifully done. The acting and Cape Town were the stars.
March 4, 2012
@mergoth I just hope papalabas to here. you know nah.
March 3, 2012
has a serious case of art dreaminess but the acting never hits a wrong note, and the poems are good.
March 1, 2012
This was an awesome movie. Please go see it!
January 30, 2012
Intense and amazing movie.
Jonny B

Super Reviewer

November 2, 2011
Ingrid Jonker's poetry ranges from moving to easily forgettable, not enough to stick for her to be labeled the 'South African Sylvia Plath', that title is ignorant and if anything rude as it is based solely on her turbulent life and not her writing. It's essentially the same as saying Mordecai Richler is the Canadian Hemingway because he liked to drink. As for the biopic on Ingrid, 'Black Butterflies', it does have strong moments that moved me and the movie doesn't have a bias slant, it's up to the viewer to decide what they think of Jonker as a person. 'Black Butterflies' greatest asset is the, hopefully Oscar nominated or won, performance from Carice van Houten who shows a myriad sides of a complex women with ease that it's easy to forget Houten is acting. It doesn't hurt that she is stunning to look at and on that note the photography is something to be lauded. Sad to say, though, that everything totalled up is another biopic on another manic depressive poetess only with the unique position to make commentary on apartheid, which is touched on enough but the movie needed more dramatic pull, either from the father-daughter aspect or a deeper exploration of why Jonker was so promiscuous - just hinting at it being related to her father, even if the truth, is slight and does nothing for the biopic. A beautiful looking portrait, a somber drama, and a strongly acted biopic on an all-too-universal story.
August 27, 2011
beautiful, touching movie with sterling performances of Carice van Houten and Rutger Hauer!
Page 1 of 2
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