“Hotel Swooni” is the upscale Brussels venue where the lives of half a dozen troubled, yearning characters intersect for 24 hours during a summer heat wave in an overly familiar, formulaic drama so contrived, it’s practically impossible to suspend disbelief and be moved by their plights. Following a local arthouse release, Belgian helmer Kaat Beels’ feature debut will segue into home-viewing formats.
Adulterous wife Anna (Sara De Roo) arrives for her sister’s wedding along with sex-starved policeman hubby Hendrik (Geert Van Rampelberg) and teen son Jens (Enrique De Roeck), whose repeated refrain of “boring” viewers will certainly sympathize with. Violette (Viviane De Muynck), the long-estranged, cancer-stricken mother of hotel maid Vicky (Natali Broods), checks in, determined to reconcile with her daughter. Meanwhile, Vicky, who longs for a child, decides to shelter young Joyeux (Vigny Tchakouani), an illegal immigrant from the Ivory Coast who is searching for his long-suffering father (Issaka Sawadogo). Although the narrative is full of ludicrous loose ends, the tone uneven and the thesping overdone, the solid widescreen lensing makes visceral the shimmering heat beating down on the hotel rooftop and the cool half-light of the rooms.