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Film synopsis: oma gets run over by a car, mom is depressed. Let’s buy it!

Mom is depressed, oma is dead, daughter is spunky. Let' s make a film!

Mom is depressed, oma is dead, daughter is spunky. Let’ s make a film!

I don’t do this on purpose. I don’t go to Holland and say, “Gee, let’s pick the more serious, real-life films from the KID section and take them home to popcorn and family. No, I also don’t read the latest film reviews (I basically choose in the middle of something else when I happen to see a Dutch film, made in Holland, in the Dutch language, that might be fun for my kids when we’re back in the States and are choosing between James Bond and Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes, I’m old fashioned, yes, I want culture, yes, I want education and I force them to watch Dutch language films. But the depression and serious life circumstances I’m just always a little taken aback by.

Do I just live in a mental Disneyland? Am I sheltered and should only watch movies with MI6 agents or goofy pirates? No, a well-balanced diet of fun, action, and … drama is a good thing, right? So why does Oma get run over by a car so soon in the film? Mom is depressed (or at least has some malady that keeps her in bed for weeks on end). They live in a beautiful house in a lovely neighborhood. How did that happen? Should we just move back right now?

“‘Knetter’ is een film om vrolijk van te worden.” says a review ( … is a film to make you happy.)

They have an odd infatuation with elephants, something about a grandfather of a grandfather. Bonnie’s (the main character, the 9-year old girl) teacher is a darling of a man any child would love to have as a teacher. There’s a frumpy social worker who threatens to rip the family apart and put Bonnie in a foster home.

Reality or gun fights?

So what’s worse for my kids? Should we just watch action movies and people shooting (and murdering) other people left and right without a care in the world? Or should we watch mom fall apart, grandma die, and the neighborhood come together to put them back together again? Let’s see, throw in the fireman and the cooky neighbor who take a liking to each other, the shoe salesman and the mother fall for each other (at least for an evening), then the mother buys (steals?) an elephant from the circus. As I write these worlds, I wonder how they make this stuff up.

But in all, it was a fun film. If a story is about caring for the characters, this does a wonderful job. In fact, I care for most all of the characters. In a few short scenes, you love most of them, you want them to be OK, you want happiness for the family, the neighborhood, the school.

Then there’s the ultimate critics: both my kids thought it was great fun. We’ll see if they say anything tomorrow about oma getting hit by a car and lying in bed (dead) in the house.

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