Watch The Misfortunates
- 1 hr 48 min
The Misfortunates is a 2009 Belgian coming-of-age film directed by Felix Van Groeningen. It is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Dimitri Verhulst and depicts the story of a young boy growing up in a dysfunctional family in a small Belgian town. The movie is a heartwarming, yet sometimes raw and crass journey through adolescence. The protagonist is 13-year-old Gunther Strobbe (played by Kenneth Vanbaeden), who lives with his unemployed father and three uncles in a rundown house in the countryside. The Strobbe family is illiterate, alcoholic, and prone to debauchery. They are a group of people who are struggling to come to terms with their own failings, and the feeling of being stuck in life. Gunther is the only one in the family who attends school, but his education is constantly interrupted by his uncles' drunken antics. He idolizes his father Pierre (played by Koen De Graeve), who is a writer, but in reality, Pierre is an irresponsible alcoholic who spends his days drinking and sleeping around with different women. The movie is a series of vignettes that follow the family through different stages of Gunther's life, starting from his childhood to his early adulthood. Each vignette explores a different theme, including sexuality, violence, father-son relationships, and the importance of family bonds. The performances in the movie are outstanding, especially Kenneth Vanbaeden who delivers a remarkable portrayal of a boy who is forced to grow up too quickly. His relationship with his father is complex and fraught with tension, but it is also filled with love and unfulfilled promise. Koen De Graeve also delivers a brilliant performance as a man who hides his insecurities behind a tough exterior. The cinematography is also one of the strengths of the movie. The camera captures the raw beauty of the countryside, but also the ugliness of the Strobbe family's living conditions. The film has a gritty, almost documentary-like feel to it, which adds to its realism. The movie is not without its flaws, however. The pacing can be slow at times, and some of the scenes are repetitive. Also, the characters are not always likable, and some viewers may find it hard to sympathize with a family whose members are so flawed. However, The Misfortunates is ultimately a heartwarming movie that explores the importance of family, and how the bonds of blood can sometimes overcome even the most difficult circumstances. Gunther's journey will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to find their place in the world, and the film's messages about love, acceptance, and forgiveness are universal. Overall, The Misfortunates is a poignant, unforgettable film that will stay with you long after the credits roll. It is a must-see for anyone who loves coming-of-age stories, gritty realism, and powerful performances.