Jackie (Anoinette Beumer, 2012): The Netherlands

Reviewed by Kimberly Howard, Viewed at The Metropolitan 4, SBIFF 2013

It is no wonder why with each attempt I made to see this film everyone was raving about, the crowd was turned away because of a sold out screening. Luckily, the festival kept re screening it so I can say with absolute confidence that this was the feel good movie of the festival! Jackie is a heartwarming film whose many layers signify what it means for a film to go beyond the general storyline structure and offers a lasting element of surprise from it’s macguffin style twist that leaves its audience literally stunned yet loving it all the more. Didn’t I say that this was the feel good movie of the film festival?!

Jackie is so much more than the typical road trip movie. It is a discovery-bound story of two Dutch twin siblings, Sofie (
Carice van Houten) and Daan (Jelka van Houten) who set out to America when they learn their biological mother, whom they have never met before, is ill. Raised by two dads, Sofie and Daan are now grown women who lead two polar opposite lives. Sofie, the headstrong, high strung, professional tells everything like it is and is definitely the bossy type. Daan is more compassionate and eager to find out all she can about her “long lost mother”. Married to a control freak and hiding the fact she takes birth control to prevent beginning a family with this man, Daan’s character comes into her own when she discovers her natural talent and love for singing simply from a karaoke bar scene induced by Jackie.

Holly Hunter performs a masterful role as Jackie,the estranged mother and she exemplifies everything they envisioned their natural mother to be. Sofie is not as eager to show interest at the start. Jackie hardly ever speaks at first and suffers from an unknown nuerological illness who goes in and out of involvement with their road trip experience. The film is filled with typical road trip excursions and adventures from a snake bite, running out of gas in the middle of nowhere and fighting off nasty bar men who try to harm the girls. All of the above are met by the care and rescue of Jackie which totally surprises and thrills Daan, but Sophie takes longer to accept. Eventually, once everyone warms up and gets cozy, there enters the film macguffin. Sorry, since my duty entails not to give away the ending, let me just say, you are promised to have a knee jerk reaction and exclaim surprise through a possibility of profane objection. I will say this movie is about perception and acceptance of what a mother should be and it does not have to be exclusively reserved for the biological kind. Or, as referenced by the twins when describing their lost mother: a “womb.”

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