Review: Bella Donnas (2017)


Bella Donnas (2017)

Directed by: Jon Karthaus | 85 minutes | comedy | Actors: Carolien Karthaus-Spoor, Kiki van Deursen, Eva Laurenssen, Egbert Jan Weeber, Ferdi Stofmeel, Manuel Broekman, Holly Mae Brood, Robert de Hoog, Hinda Ferjani, Nick Golterman, Jochen Otten, Thijs Römer, Marcel Zwoferink, Bart Klever, Nadja Hüpscher, Stephanie Louwerer, David Lucieer, Leo Alkemade, Jochem Nooyen

Carpe Fucking Diem. That is the mantra with which Bella (Melody Klaver) lives her life. The spontaneous twenty-something enjoys life to the full, until a diving accident puts an end to it. ‘Bella Donna’s’ starts on the day of her funeral and we meet her three best friends, Amy (Kiki van Deursen), Sasha (Eva Laurenssen) and Jasmijn (Carolien Karthaus-Spoor). In the short introduction the character of the women is immediately clear: Amy is the clumsy, somewhat boring single, Sasha is just dumping her umpteenth one night stand and Jasmijn is disappointed by the results of her pregnancy test and orders her boyfriend to hurry up.

At the funeral, where genuine sadness is nowhere to be found, the three friends promise to visit Bella’s father quickly, but as it goes, six months pass before they finally ring the bell. And then ‘Bella Donna’s’ really starts. Bella turns out to have kept a bucket list, rather a bucket book, and her father is overjoyed when one of the three spontaneously offers to finish the bucket list for Bella with the three of them. At first the other two don’t like it, but after a few shots the world looks very different and they go for it.
This results in a series of chewed-up sketches, in which the predictability in advance already kills the sometimes gross humor. Skydiving, dance lessons (seriously, which self-respecting dance teacher gives this vulgar advice?), starring in a movie and “borrowing” a wedding dress. The ladies often go for the most illogical choices (breaking into a bridal fashion store instead of inquiring about wedding clothes from acquaintances is much more obvious) and the dialogues almost never feel natural. Nobody talks like that, except in a movie. Another good example of how unbelievable the film is is the cleaning/cleaning up scene in Niels’ apartment (Egbert Jan Weeber, who almost single-handedly tries to make something of the film). Niels picks up an empty crisp package as if it were a piece of clothing that has been puked and follows a montage of swinging oh-what-we-do-it-fun-together scenes. And why is ‘more excitement in the bedroom’ always presented as BDSM?

After all those painfully unpleasant moments, there is a turning point and the three young women still have to go through a certain growth. One comes to realize that that time of many sex partners may have come to an end, the other questions the relationship and the third goes outside the box for true love. That deepening or what has to pass for it does not come unexpectedly, but it is too late, because by that time you have already developed an aversion to the characters and you don’t care much anymore what becomes of them. ‘Bella Donna’s’ is an uncomfortable film that aims to make you laugh, but with all its vulgar humor and unreal situations it tends to give you crooked toes.

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