Bridge class: The time of my life (2019)
Directed by: Raymond Grimbergen | 85 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Sterre van Woudenberg, Vincent Visser, Niek Roozen, Julian Moon, Stefania Liberakakis, Claire Veldkamp, Britt Scholte, Sevcan Kocer, Else Talsma
Since 2014, AVRO-TROS has been broadcasting the TV soap ‘Brugklas’, in which the daily worries of a group of secondary school students at the fictitious Koning Willem Alexander College are followed. The style of the series is ‘scripted reality’, which means that although it is fictional, it looks like it was real. The stories are taken from real life and deal with insecurity, puppy love, tensions that young people experience at home and at school and everything else that preoccupies the average thirteen-year-old. The actors are mostly debutants, which should enhance the authenticity. For seven seasons, hundreds of thousands of ten to thirteen-year-olds have tuned in to their daily portion of ‘Bridge class’ every day. The series is so popular that a film version has now also appeared, ‘Brugklas – The time of my life’ (2019), directed by the relatively inexperienced Raymond Grimbergen, who also shot a number of episodes of the series and is now allowed to play. indulge. Because where he normally only has ten minutes per episode at his disposal, that is now just under an hour and a half.
Regular viewers of ‘Brugklas’ will undoubtedly recognize familiar faces in the film. Central is Nola (Star of Woudenberg). She doesn’t like it. Her boyfriend Jesse (Vincent Visser) has broken up with her and that is already very annoying. But the breakup was filmed and tossed around the internet, leaving Nola now a shame at school. And now Fenna (Stefania Liberakakis), the most popular girl in the school, has set her sights on him. In a desperate attempt to win back Jesse, Nola only gets in trouble for herself, resulting in her being banned from school camp in Drenthe. Instead, she has to eat the chewing gum from the schoolyard and is stuck with the older Boy (Julian Moon Snijder), who is known as a loner and a freak. Normally she would walk around him with a big bow, but he turns out to be different than she always thought and even proposes to drive to Drenthe together to put things in order. They borrow the Canta from Nola’s grandmother and set out on a road trip that will change their lives.
Who, after reading the summary above, already has an idea where this film is going; you are probably not far off. Because if ‘Brugklas – The time of my life’ is one thing, then it is predictable. Well, the fun doesn’t have to be overwhelming, of course, as long as the characters are engaging enough. And to be honest, during the road trip that Nola and Boy undertake together, we slowly but surely become charmed by them. Even though, apart from a night trip to a well-known animal park in Drenthe, they experience few adventures. But the story has little to do with ‘scripted reality’; a first-year student and a sophomore who drive 150 kilometers together in a wheelchair for the disabled? Also the one-twos that the various characters have with the camera, do not exactly contribute to the feeling that we are looking at something realistic. What makes it even more incredible is the fact that the actors are on average five years older than their character and thus appear much more mature than they should as thirteen-year-olds. In addition to the familiar faces from the series – from the current and previous batches – two new characters are introduced. But both the bitchy Fenna and the rebellious Boy are worked out quite cliché. Boy in particular nevertheless manages to win our sympathy as soon as we get to know him better.
‘Brugklas – The time of my life’ is predictable and less realistic if the makers would have us believe. Nevertheless, this film manages to charm us at times and that has mainly to do with the playing of Van Woudenberg and Moon Snijder and their mutual chemistry. Because, even though they are much older than the characters they portray, the road trip they experience together is the heart of the film and the interaction that Nola and Boy have there comes across the most sincere.