De Helaasheid der Dingen (The Misfortunates) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 13, 2010
The Misfortunates works well as a coming-of-age story, because the people involved feel connected to the material. In other words, director Felix Van Groeningen has made a film that isn?t just entertaining; it?s genuine, as well. For every offbeat nostalgic moment, there are five that depict alcohol abuse and sexual depravity. This isn?t a one-dimensional portrait, and Groeningen uses the pleasant elements of the movie to ease into the uglier ones. Wonderful performances and enticing direction. One of 2009's best.
May 30, 2014
Film is ok. Book is genius.
April 3, 2014
g dag ik wil de hele film zien !! mvg
August 7, 2012
Like that episode of The Simpsons when Bart, Lisa, and Maggie were forced into temporary foster care with the Flanders, The Misfortunates explores the meaning of family. The Strobbes may be a family of violent and lazy drunkards but they are very loyal to each other. The four brothers - often incompetently but always sincerely - try to raise the next generation to mixed results. Their drinking habits, fighting, and unemployment have a clear deleterious effect on thirteen-year-old Gunther but he canâ(TM)t decide whether to support his family or get away from them.

Forced to write lines at school because he has gotten into trouble, Guntherâ(TM)s writing improves and becomes a way for him to express himself. Eventually, after he is expelled from one school and a social worker visits his home, he decides to enter boarding school. The writing evolves in step with technology: a younger Gunther writes on notepaper at first and advances to a typewriter and later a computer when he is in his twenties trying to publish his first novel. The older Gunther narrates the film and although he made some typical Strobbe mistakes, he is his own man and consequently happy and successful.

Transit is a motif throughout the film. As Gunther thinks about moving his life forward, he is on a train or there is one passing by that can be seen through a window. The constant motion of the train mirrors what is happening in Guntherâ(TM)s life. He is luckily able to move on from a youth vomiting by the train tracks during a beer drinking contest won by one of his uncles to a studious young adult looking forward to return to school after a weekend.

The Strobbe brothers often participated in naked bicycle races but Gunther becomes focused and wins a cross-country race -- although his father who entered him in the race could not attend because he had been drinking and playing billiards the night before.

The Misfortunates is absurdly comical at times although I hope that the creators of South Park never see this film. There are some shocking moments that I do not want to revisit. There is a serious message to the entire film (perhaps clichĂ (C)d but I did not feel that this was a problem) which is delivered by showcasing a series of crude and bizarre incidents. Sadly, people really live this was and although it may be laughable at times it is incredibly tragic. The Strobbes may be an extreme example but there are many people fighting misfortunate, especially youth, who need help.
August 1, 2012
terrific view on a hopeless life
½ April 8, 2011
Certainly not a film for the masses. But the anarchic humor of the film lifts it from the broad mass-produced assembly-line production. The director makes the audience inevitably to voyeurs of a real edge of society, who drown their boredom in alcohol.
½ January 4, 2011
Quizas muy regional y por eso la tragedia que presenta no llega tan de frente. Un tanto agradable y profunda, la pelicula muestra la historia de un chico que vive con sus tios beodos y su abuela en un pequenio pueblo del norte de Belgica (Flandes). Destinado a ser un Strobbe mas, continuando con el alcoholismo familiar, el pequenio Gunther logra evadir su futuro, en parte, gracias a su abuela.
Debido a su regionalismo y a que cuenta con un personaje central que no logra atraer la atencion, haciendo que la pelicula se diluya en vanos detalles, termina en que la pelicula se torna a ratos aburrida.
Segun Mr Jan Roebben, el libro, como casi siempre, esta mucho mejor que la pelicula, habria que leerlo.
June 16, 2010
This film went to one core of European society, to the kind of people you'll find everywhere in Europe and it takes your conception of them and shows you that not all of them are as numb in mind and heart as they seem. It reminds me a bit of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas because just like Thompson's work this film leads the audience to a front line of society which is in this case the family.

Although the Misfortunates are a rather extreme case of a family they are able to serve as a reminder that every family has its problems and how much they can influence the lives of those affected by them. This particular family which seems to be torn apart by the love of a caring grandmother and the legacy of her husband Maurice Strobbe who was known as the greatest drinker of all Strobbes. While he died at the age of 49, she looks after their four grown up sons as well as her grandchild Gunther who is the protagonist of the film.

Throughout the film we learn a lot about Gunther from the perspective of the young child growing up among four drunkards, dealing with problems in school and rejection by society for being considered as social scum. We also learn about Gunther as a father-to-be and writer-to-be who tries to deal with the legacy which has been handed down to him while at the same time he has the chance of having a different life.

As for those who would compare this film to the Flodders: The Flodders never really convinced me as a film because they were like animals in the zoo. You watch them, you laugh at them and then you go home, end of story. The good thing about the Flodders is that you can't identify and you're not supposed to. This film however is the complete opposite and actually it hurts to use the Flodder films as a comparison because they're not at all similar to the Misfortunates, as I see them. Van Groeningens film takes you into the family instead. It presents the life of a family from a distance you'd never ever have in real life as long as you're not living in such a family.

This one has it all: It's funny, adorable, sensitive, shocking and disgusting and it takes you through a journey which is unbelievable and so real at the same time.
½ April 28, 2010
The Misfortunates is a drama that's funny, a tragedy that's absurd, and ultimately a story of 'misfortune' turned redemptive. It's a tough movie to watch, since even its funniest sequences are scarred by the fact that they are at the expense of a kid's upbringing.
½ April 8, 2010
this movie has potiental if it has good people making it hope it out close to me so i can see if its worth the money
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