DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE DEFLOWERING OF EVA VAN END (DE ONTMAAGDING) (director/writer: Michiel Ten Horn; screenwriter: from an idea by Anne Barnhoorn; cinematographer: Jasper Wolf; editor:  Sander Vos; music:  Djurre de Haan; cast: Vivian Dierickx (Eva), Jacqueline Blom (Etty), Ton Kas (Evert), Abe Dijkman (Emanuel), Tomer Pawlicki (Erwin), Rafael Gareisen (Veit), Anandi Gall (Mardou); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Stine Flex; Film Movement; 2012-Netherlands-in Dutch/German with English subtitles)

"A slight story that never gets past its shock scenes."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Dutch writer-director Michiel Ten Horn ("Guilty Movie") bases his quirky farcical comedy on an idea by Anne Barnhoorn (which is lifted from the 1968 film Theorem by Pier Paolo Pasolini, a Marxist political fable). Horn jettisons Pasolini's political stuff and instead helms it styled with eccentrics or misfits like American indie filmmakers' Wes Anderson or Todd Solondz. The domestic coming-of-age comedy is owned by Horn, when in a cartoonish way he tunes into the unhappiness of each member of a dysfunctional family of five. We observe that it's the sexual frustrations with life that rule the roost for most of the featured petty bourgeois dysfunctional family members. The pic dispenses with Pasolini like depth and instead offers a slight story that never gets past its shock scenes and crude look at its oddball characters trying to get on track to lead a better life than just settling for materialistic pleasures.

The comfortable suburban Van End family, all self-absorbed and fixated with their own problems, get their lives spun around for two weeks with the arrival of their 'Mr. Perfect' guest, a handsome blond/blue-eyed high school German exchange student named Veit (Rafael Gareisen). He's a know-it-all with a supposed saintly nature because of his charity work with Africans in need, who was invited by the unpopular high school student, the Van End's ignored middle-child, Eva (Vivian Dierickx). She's someone bullied, timid, an ugly duckling, and bespectacled. The bumbling irresolute family patriarch Evert (Ton Kas), an office administrator in a food factory, is always bickering with his aggressive and bossy grumpy wife Etty (Jacqueline Blom). Meanwhile we observe the asocial actions of the younger son Manuel (Abe Dijkman), a pot dealing wise ass, who hates the kraut and the airs he puts on of thinking he's better than everyone else. Older brother Erwin (Tomer Pawlicki) is a store manager who is unsure of his upcoming marriage to mixed race girl Mardou (Anandi Gall) when he falls in love with the misleading flirty Veit and then suffers badly when he mistakenly takes his suggestion to clear his acne with a facial sperm treatment.

The sexually frustrated family, aside from Manuel who is worried he's the only Van End whose first name doesn't begin with an E, fall under the influence of the angelic Veit and try but fail to live up to his high standards. Veit brings destruction to the family, even if freeing them from their stagnation. In the pic's 'money shot,' Veit inadvertently fulfills what the title suggests. When the Christ-like student departs, peace is restored and the reinvented family can now begin to heal as the parents can start to be better communicators and the kiddies can begin to mature as they learn to grapple better with their frustrations.

REVIEWED ON 11/23/2013       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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