The Best of Dorien B (2019) *** IFFR Rotterdam 2019

January 25th, 2019
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Anke Blonde | Cast: Kim Strauwaerts, Dirk van Dijk, Peter De Graef | Belgium, Drama | 106’

Anke Blonde’s contemporary portrait of loneliness in a seemingly busy and successful life will be familiar. And THE BEST OF DORIEN B’s subdued aesthetic and slow pace reflect a deep-felt dissatisfaction within its heroine’s  humdrum existence in an ordinary town in Belgium. Viewed from the outside wife and mother Dorien has everything to live for: a loving husband, three healthy boys and a vocation she always dreamed of: caring for animals in a busy veterinary practice. 

So what’s missing? A real connection. It feels like everyone is projecting their own needs onto her capable shoulders. But Dorien just plods on oblivious. With no-one to confide in while she soaks up the draining negativity of her parent’s emerging marriage crisis and her vet husband’s previous infidelity with a colleague – which seems to be far from over – she soldiers on. In her deft feature debut, the Belgian director reveals the deep cracks in a perfect facade. And then Dorien’s world crashes down. And from this personal crisis comes an epiphany moment for the former wildchild to bring the focus back firmly to her own hopes and dreams. This thoughtful comedy drama with its sensitive nuanced performances – particularly from lead Kim Snauwaert – plays its serious side lightly but makes a firm point: that sometimes we need to be selfish in order to keep on supporting those whose depend on us. Playing to packed audiences in Rotterdam’s Big Screen Competition line-up it certainly seem to strike a chord.  MT


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