Tuesday, December 18, 2012

[Netherlands] - Jackie - Film about Surrogacy and Family

Thank you to Facebook's "Living the New Normal" for alerting GDA to this new film from the Netherlands.  The film is not widely available on DVD at this stage however you can get a copy from "BOL.com" here.  It still appears to be doing the round of festivals and seeking distribution.  A trailer from the film is below.

"Twin sisters Sofie and Daan (Carice and Jelka van Houten) have been raised by their two fathers. When they receive an unexpected phone call  from their- hitherto unknown- biological mother in the US (Jackie, played by Holly Hunter) they embark on an amazing adventure, that alters their assumptions about everything that they once believed to be true. The trip with the strange and ill adjusted Jackie will change Sofie's and Daan's life for good". 

The Director, Antoinette Beumer, was born in Nieuwar-Amstel, Netherlands. She has directed the features See You In Vegas (07), The Happy Housewife (10), Loft (10) and Jackie (12). You can find out more information from the IMDb website here.

Screen Daily has a review by Mark Adams of Jackie [Source: Original Article].

"Rambling road trip film Jackie is a real honest-to-goodness charmer as two Dutch twin sisters head off to the US and the wide open spaces of New Mexico to spend less-than-quality time with their surrogate mother Jackie, a woman they have never met but are forced to deal with when she is hospitalised. The premise may sound lightweight, but the film is beautifully performed, warm and funny and looks terrific and certainly deserves to find distribution.

The twins are wonderfully played by real-life sisters Carice and Jelka van Houten, while Oscar-winner Holly Hunter has a fine old time playing the weathered oddball Jackie, a woman who has little time for the intrusion in her life but who comes to appreciate the sister’s assistance. Hunter’s presence should help sales, while the van Houten sisters have their own star quality, with their innate rapport helping paper over the rather soft dramatic set-up.

Directed with a lot of warmth by Antoinette Beumer (sister of actress Famke Janssen and who made Dutch hit The Happy Housewife with Carice von Houten), the film – which could have benefitted with a smarter and more evocative title – succeeds as a genial road-trip with some nice snappy dialogue, and while the story is unfocussed at times it ends with a smart and oddly satisfying twist.

Twin sisters Sofie (Carice van Houten) and Daan (Jelka van Houten) barely see each other in Amsterdam. Dark-haired Sofie is busy with her career as  a magazine editor, while ditzy blonde Jelka and her husband Joost (Jeroen Spitzenberger) are planning children. They had never met their mother Jackie as he was a surrogate for their two gay fathers, but out the blue they get a call from the US.

A woman had badly injured her leg and they only family the hospital could find was via a photograph of the twin girls as babies. Daan, who has fantasised about meeting her biological mother, manages to convince the uncertain Sofie should go the US to help the woman.

And so begins their oddball road trip. With a damaged leg and ruptured eardrum, Jackie is unable to fly and so Sofie and Daan grudgingly agree to drive her battered RV to the rehabilitation centre, and head off in the back roads of New Mexico. Their journey sees them getting closer to each other; gradually getting snippets of information from Jackie; having a close encounter with a snake; engaging in some karaoke and bumping into the all-female biker gang ‘Dykes on Bikes’, who help them out when they run out of petrol deep in the desert.

Carice van Houten is excellent as the prim, firm and rather bitter Sofie and is nicely contrasted by a warmer performance by Jelka van Houten, whose character actually develops more as the film draws on. Holly Hunter’s character is initially remote and unfriendly, but comes to appreciate the attentions of the twins, who switch between Dutch and English with ease.

An unexpected twist towards the end gives the film a nicely judged emotional highpoint, and despite a tone that is perhaps too gentle at times and lacking a real dramatic arc, Jackie succeeds as a rather enjoyable and big-hearted film that us never less than watchable".

Variety has a review of Jackie by Boyd Van Hoeu [Source: Original Article]

"Two Dutch twin sisters who are the very definition of "yin and yang" take their American surrogate mother on a femmes-only road trip in Antoinette Beumer's "Jackie." Affable perfs from Holly Hunter and Carice van Houten ensure an enjoyable ride, though the screenplay succeeds only very late in the game in using the genre's obligatory road stops as believable conduits for character change. Shot in photogenic New Mexico, and partly in English, this local B.O. hit could interest arthouse-lite distribs.
Dark-haired Sofie (Carice van Houten) and blonde Daan (Carice's real-life actress sister, Jelka) are twins who rarely make time for one another. An early dinner scene in which they visit their gay dads (Paul Hoes, Jaap Spijkers) makes the sisters' oil-and-water differences quite clear: Sofie, a magazine editor, is so busy with her career that she doesn't have time for a man, while Daan, who's married to the desperate-for-children Joost (Jeroen Spitzenberger), is her total opposite, looking to please everyone but herself.

When their surrogate mother, Jackie (Hunter), is admitted to a Stateside hospital, an unexpected call for help from the institution's staff means the daughters have the opportunity to finally meet the woman who gave birth to them in the '70s. The more family-oriented Daan jumps at the opportunity, though predictably, Sofie is less thrilled to meet her "womb donor."

The film's feeble excuse for a trip-a-trois in Jackie's rusty old camper is the fact that she can't fly (because of a pierced eardrum) and can't drive (her leg is in a cast), and needs to be taken to a New Mexico rehabilitation center. There's some perfunctory protest from the verbally feisty Sofie, but this is the kind of film where the characters' resistance to genre cliches is futile, marring the story's plausibility as well as its rhythm. While on the road, Internet and phone connections die on cue, snakes rattle, and rednecks of various levels of unpleasantness come a-calling while the siblings get to know each other and the initially not-very-communicative stranger who is their mother.

Written by scribes Karen van Holst Pellekaan and Marnie Blok (the writing duo behind Beumer's "The Happy Housewife," also with van Houten), the screenplay initially seems less an organic story than a reshuffling of past road-movie moments, with the music by Wiegel, Meirmans and Snitker helpfully suggesting whether a scene is meant to be humorous (guitar) or melancholy (piano). But as the trip approaches its final destination and a terrific twist -- which, if placed earlier, could have given the pic much more original material to explore -- "Jackie" finally relaxes into something credible and affecting.

This is in large part due to the actresses, with Carice van Houten clearly having fun with her character's nonstop barrage of colorful complaints and, not surprisingly, carrying on a convincing sisterly rapport with Jelka van Houten (two years younger in real life). The leather-faced Hunter, initially stuck in an aggressive and mostly mute role, also registers quite movingly by the closing reels.

Shooting on location in gorgeous New Mexico (thanks to tax-rebate advice from Beumer's own actress sister, Famke Janssen), Belgian d.p. Danny Elsen makes good use of wide shots and closeups for scenic reasons as well as the occasional punchline. The rest of the tech package is boho-chic"

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