Review: ‘Joy’


An uninflected, docu-like study of an 18-year-old Dutch woman searching for her birth mother.

The last leg of her trilogy about confused teen girls, Mijke de Jong’s “Joy” is the simplest (and shortest) of all, an uninflected, docu-like study of an 18-year-old Dutch woman searching for her birth mother. Shot in gritty, widescreen HD and far less ambitious than the ho-hum second entry, “Katia’s Sister,” this is more like the trilogy’s initial seg, “Bluebird.” An attention-grabbing perf by newcomer Samira Maas, as the eponymous product of various orphanages, is the pic’s main attraction, though not enough to get much theatrical joy for this grim, essentially cable item.

Abandoned as a baby with a note saying simply her name, Joy Pilet (Maas) has grown into an ornery blonde who bullies her social worker into revealing her mother’s out-of-town address. Following the woman (Elisabeth Hesemans) around, and even breaking into her house, Joy can’t bring herself to confront her directly. Meanwhile, her relationship with Serbian b.f. Moumou (Dragan Bakema) is rocky, and best friend Denise (Coosje Smid) is pregnant by a hip-hoppy slacker (Dalorim Wartes). Maas holds attention throughout, though the thin script leaves the viewer little the wiser about her character by the end.




An IDTV Film producion, in association with VARA. (International sales: Bavaria Film Intl., Munich.) Produced by Frans van Gestel. Co-producer, Robert Kievit. Directed by Mijke de Jong. Screenplay, Helena van der Meulen.


Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Ton Peters; editor, Dorith Vinken; art directors, Jolein Laarman, Jorien Sont; costumes, Jacqueline Steijlen. Reviewed at CinemaxX Potsdamer Platz 2, Berlin, Jan. 19, 2010. (In Berlin Film Festival -- Generation 14plus.) Running time: 76 MIN.


Samira Maas, Coosje Smid, Dragan Bakema, Elisabeth Hesemans, Naima el-Bezaz, Elisabeth Hesemans, Lisette Livingstone, Dalorim Wartes.
(Dutch, English, Serbian dialogue)

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