"One of the stranger, and better, chick flicks around."
Holland’s Best Foreign Film winner of 1995 is a spellbinding multigenerational fairy tale spanning the latter half of the 20th century.Antonia (Willeke van Ammelrooy in a lovely performance) returns to her hometown after World War II, accompanied by daughter Danielle (Els Dottermans). They have come to bury Antonia’s dotty but still-alive mother, who dies after snapping at Antonia, “You’re late!” At the funeral, Danielle sees the old woman sit up in her coffin and start crooning “My Blue Heaven.” That’s writer-director Marleen Gorris’ tip-off that the movie isn’t meant to be taken literally.
As “season follows season,” the movie becomes a catalogue of offenses against women, but Gorris doesn’t stoop to man-bashing (though, like Thelma & Louise, the film was wrongly slammed for it by some critics). Each member of Antonia’s line — her artistic daughter Danielle, her musical/mathematical whiz granddaughter Therese, and her great-granddaughter Sarah, who will grow up to be a writer and tell the story we’re watching — represents different creative responses to life and death. Antonia herself, presiding warmly over her flock, comes to seem like something of a goddess — but one who flouts conventional morality by taking a lover and disregarding marriage. Her commitment to freedom both strengthens and warps those who emulate her example.The movie is a dream of freedom but not quite an idyll; it's both harsh and gentle, sensual and intellectual, wise-ass and heartfelt — it's a full package.