Almost every teenage girl yearns for love and almost every teenage girl is insecure. And if you don’t live up to what is seen as the ideal image of women but do have a demanding mother, things don’t get any easier. Moving portrait of a girl who has to fight hard for happiness. Set in Rotterdam.
The second feature by the Belgian director Christophe Van Rompaey is a Dutch-language production, situated in Rotterdam. The working-class Ghent dialect of Moscow, Belgium (2008) has been exchanged for a pronounced Dutch Metropolitan accent. And the feel-good humour with a dash of tragedy has made way for a serious dramatic tone with a comic note.
This is a powerful debut by the actress Emma Levie who plays Lena, a 17-year-old girl wrestling with her chubby body and a Polish mother who keeps belittling her. Her only pleasures are line dancing and casual sex - until she meets the popular Daan, who seems genuinely interested in her. Lena is all too eager to move in with him, but isn’t Daan hiding something from her? And what about his father, who lives as a hermit?
The camera does not lose sight of Lena for a moment in this tender coming-of-age story. Van Rompaey gets right inside the world of the insecure adolescent who is learning to defend herself and discovering what self-respect is.