Oorlogswinter – **

Posted: September 3, 2011 in 2008, Children/Family, Drama, Netherlands, War, XX


As a kid I loved all the books of Jan Terlouw en Thea Beckman, so you can understand my nostalgic excitement about all the movies that are recently produced based on their more popular stories. The first one I wanted to watch was Oorlogswinter (Winter in Wartime), which got good reviews and deals with a period of time that I talk a lot about to my passengers.

The biggest surprise to me after having watched the movie is how I had recollected nothing at all about the storyline. I remember having read the book, but had no idea it entailed so much hardcore drama. I mean, this is no enjoyable family flic, it’s a harsh flashback to very different times. It’s set in January of 1945 when the Netherlands are still occupied and the country suffers from the coldest winter ever. A young kid ‘discovers’ a British soldier and wants to help him get back to England. His father however is the mayor of the town and acts friendly towards the German occupiers. His favourite uncle on the other hand seems to have sympathies with the resistance. The more the kid gets involved in the war, the more casualties fall…

I did like the movie and I do think it’s a must for every young person to watch how different live at 14 was in 1945. But it’s definitely not flawless. The first half is intriguing, the second half confusing, especially because the director wants to tell as much as possible in a very limited amount of time. As with many movies these days: they could much better have made television series out of this. There’s so much more to show and tell about this story and the many characters. I don’t like it when the movie starts with two kids who experience something quite unique for them and then you only get to know what happens to one of the kids. The other one appears again at the end of the movie, but what did he do in the mean time? Also the relationship with the father and the uncle gets confusing. Is the father a collaborator? Is the uncle with the resistance. I understand you want to create some tension and you don’t have to explain every single thing, but I would have wanted to learn more about these two father figures. And all the others…

The kid is played by Martijn Lakemeier, who’s a real pleasure to watch. I hope he gets some other assignments to act. He also outshines all the others, who act kind of wooden and just recite their lines. Again, their characters were not well developed, so you can’t really blame the acting. But they are just there in the scenes, just like you have trees and plants in other scenes. A pity.


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