×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hidden Flaws

A headstrong 10-year-old girl and a melancholy 70-year-old spinster come to a hard-fought emotional understanding on the Scottish island of Mull in the compelling widescreen drama "Hidden Flaws." Film will be a fest mainstay, with decent arthouse, tube and homevid potential following October bow at home.

With:
With: Henny Orri, Priscilla Knetemann, Bram van den Hooven. (Dutch, English dialogue)

A headstrong 10-year-old girl and a melancholy 70-year-old spinster come to a hard-fought emotional understanding on the Scottish island of Mull in the compelling widescreen drama “Hidden Flaws.” As emotionally complex as director Paula van der Oest’s Oscar-nommed Dutch comedy “Zus & Zo” but pitched in a far more thoughtful key, pic joins recent Czech dramedy “The Farm Keeper” as one of those rare pics that satisfactorily reinterprets childhood struggles for an adult audience. Film will be a fest mainstay, with decent arthouse, tube and homevid potential following October bow at home.

Considered eccentric even by remote island standards, Agnes (Dutch theater star Henny Orri) has come to the seaside vacation home she shared with her late brother Robert to scatter his ashes. Her bulging glass eye accentuating an already contrary and non-conformist nature, Agnes is haunted by memories suggesting her relationship with Robert jumped sibling boundaries, and that he had something to do with the childhood accident that caused her affliction.

Meanwhile, on a holiday in the Hebrides with her family, precocious youngster Chrissy (Priscilla Knetemann) accidentally kills her bullying older brother on the ferry pier, out of sight from adult eyes but in front of her younger sibling Tommy (Bram van den Hooven). Panicked, the two hide out in Agnes’ car, and she doesn’t discover them until she’s nearly back at the cottage.

Thus begins an odd, touching relationship fueled by guilt and mutual need. Agnes quickly learns her charges are on the run, but not why. “I don’t care if I have to go to jail,” she says, “you can stay as long as you like.” The almost feral Chrissy becomes fascinated with Agnes, perhaps instinctually recognizing how the death of a brother can impact a surviving sibling. Though Gothic in nature, the payoff preserves the volatile nature of the story.

Like much of van der Oest’s work, pic is based on a novel (adapted by children’s author Tamara Bos), and helmer seems energized by the deeper literary complexities such characters offer. Thus, the relationship between Agnes and Chrissy is far more intricate than most such friendships, and the film’s leisurely, almost episodic approach to their encounter is cumulatively satisfying.

Across an age gap of roughly half a century, Orri and Knetemann connect with characters of mutual need. Distinctive among the fine supporting players, van den Hooven brings a disarming gravitas to Tommie.

Tech credits are pro, led by the gorgeous widescreen lensing of vet Bert Pot (who also shot “Zus & Zo”). Ursula Cleary’s production design presents a cottage as cluttered as the mind of its owner, while makeup artist Claudia Reymond worked with an Italian firm to create among the most believable and affecting prosthetics in recent memory.

Hidden Flaws

The Netherlands-U.K.

Production: An Independent Films (the Netherlands) release of a De Luwte (the Netherlands), SellOutPictures (U.K.) production. (International sales: De Luwte, Amsterdam.) Produced by Jacqueline de Goeij, Bob Last. Executive producer, Ruud van der Heyde. Directed by Paula van der Oest. Screenplay, Tamara Bos, based on the novel "A Crying Shame" by Renate Dorrestein.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Bert Pot; editor, Sander Vos; music, Fons Merkies; production designer, Ursula Cleary; sound (Dolby Digital SRD), Jan Willem van den Brink. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 13, 2004. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Henny Orri, Priscilla Knetemann, Bram van den Hooven. (Dutch, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Nadine Labaki

    Cannes: Nadine Labaki to Head Un Certain Regard Jury

    Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki has been named president of the jury for Un Certain Regard in Cannes. The Festival said Labaki had been chosen after “moving hearts and minds at the last Festival de Cannes with her Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated ‘Capernaum,’ which won the Jury Prize.” The organizers noted Labaki’s films have all [...]

  • Osmosis

    Netflix Unveils Four More French Originals, 'Gims,' 'Anelka,' 'Move,' 'Of Earth And Blood'

    As it prepares to open a fully-staffed office in France and ramp up its investment in local originals, Netflix has unveiled three new documentaries, “Move” (working title), “Gims” (working title), and “Anelka” (working title), and the feature film “Of Earth And Blood” while at Series Mania in Lille. Announced during a panel with Netflix’s commissioning [...]

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content