Black Butterflies

2011, Drama, 1h 40m

13 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

Having grown up during the height of apartheid in South Africa, poet Ingrid Jonker searches for love and a new home.

Cast & Crew

Rutger Hauer
Abraham Jonker
Martinus Van Der Berg
Maruis Schoon
Leon Clingman
Valkenberg receptionist
Jennifer Steyn
Lucille - Lulu
Nicholas Pauling
Eugene Maritz
Damon Berry
Pieter Venter
Waldemar Schultz
Ettiene le Roux
Greg Latter
Screenwriter
Philip Miller
Original Music
Giulio Biccari
Cinematographer
Sander Vos
Film Editor
Christa Schamberger
Casting
Darryl Hammer
Production Design
Darryl Hammer
Art Director
Rae Donnelly
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for Black Butterflies

Critic Reviews for Black Butterflies

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (4)

  • What kept me most engaged were the mostly strong performances from the cast, and the beautiful cinematography.

    August 15, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Van Houten ... gives a strong performance as Jonker, and the cinematography is pleasing, but the script is cliché-ridden and ends on an overly sentimental note.

    March 2, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie reminds you of the extent to which poetry has been marginalized as a cultural force since the early 1960s.

    March 1, 2012 | Rating: 4/5
  • Black Butterflies scarcely tries to illuminate the substance of Jonker's writing.

    March 1, 2012 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • Black Butterflies is a dark, moving depiction of the life and death of a brave rebellious, idiosyncratic woman who made significant strides toward changing the world around her and paid a heavy toll for her passion.

    February 29, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Always feels like a life schematically condensed rather than intimately explored.

    February 29, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Black Butterflies

  • Aug 01, 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.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 19, 2013
    Nice movie, albeit very slow, and depressing.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 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.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer

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