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The Misfortunates (2009)

Cast: Natali Broods, Johan Heldenbergh, Koen De Graeve, more...
Director: Felix Van Groeningen
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Evokative Films
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Netherlands, Dysfunctional Families
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: Dutch
Subtitles: English

A boy growing up with a family of Flemish slobs learns more than his elders imagined they were capable of teaching in this purposefully rude comedy drama. Gunther Strobbe (Kenneth Vanbaeden) is 13 years old and living with his father, Marcel (Koen De Graeve), his three uncles (Bert Haelvoet, Johan Heldenbergh and Wouter Hendrickx), and his grandmother (Gilda De Bal). You would think that Gunther has more than enough adult role models in his life, but the Strobbes are not an ordinary family; Marcel works part-time as a letter carrier, though the fact there are several bars on his route makes getting the work done a challenge, while his brothers are booze-addled layabouts who sponge off their mother, who is too sweet to deny them her meager pension. Gunther loves his family, but they often seem more like seedy playmates than authority figures, as the men in the house spend their days gulping down beer and sausage, breaking things, playing rude pranks on others, and chasing women, often with hilarious but embarrassing consequences. Years later, Gunther has launched a career as a writer, is married, and is expecting a son; suddenly frightened by the new responsibilities that await him, Gunther seeks out Marcel and his brothers for some advice on fatherhood, a subject one might not imagine is one of their strong suits. Directed by Felix Van Groeningen, De Helaasheid der Dingen (aka The Misfortunates) was adapted from the novel by Dimitri Verhulst. ~ Mark Deming, AMG

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