Review: My father is a sausage (2021)

My father is a sausage (2021)

Directed by: Anouk Fortunier | 84 minutes | family, comedy, drama | Actors: Johan Heldenbergh, Eva van der Gucht, Serge-Henri Valcke, Hilde De Baerdemaeker, Camilia Blereau, Frank Focketyn, Sieber Marly, Julie Maes, Tomas Pevenage, Savannah Vandendriessche, Adelina Balaj, Chokri Ben Chikha, Katja Uffelmann, Jade De Ridder Robbe Vandenven, Ferre Vuye, Riana Fleerackers, Charlotte De Groof

The Schutijzers are a normal family. Only Zoë (Savannah Vandendriessche) falls by the wayside. Zoë is a shy and restrained girl. She usually hides in her drawing book, where she keeps the most creative sketches hidden. Zoë’s life changes drastically when her father Paul (Johan Heldenbergh) decides to give up his boring job as a banker. Her father wants to pursue his childhood dream and become an actor. Mother Véronique (Hilde De Baerdemaeker), sister Fien (Jade De Ridder) and brother Kas (Ferre Vuye) think it’s strange. But Zoe believes in her father. She encourages him and accompanies him to various auditions for actors. Gradually, a closer bond develops between father and daughter. Their joint adventure culminates in Paul’s very first acting job: playing a live sausage roll in a commercial.

‘My father is a saucisse’ is the Flemish debut film by director Anouk Fortunier. The screenplay is based on the French children’s book ‘Mon père est une saucisse’ by author Agnès de Lestrade. Just like the book, the film adaptation will undoubtedly win the hearts of children. The film is about following your dreams and offers many wise lessons for growing young people. However, the film is less suitable for an older audience. Parents will still find the film manageable, especially because of scenes that reflect matters from their own lives, but the film will probably not make much of an impression on childless people.

The problem with ‘My father is a saucisse’ is not the approach or the underlying message. This is a warm and well-intentioned film. The problems lie elsewhere. The lack of originality, in combination with the presence of various stereotypes, is what chafes in this film. The plot is not very innovative. We’ve all seen it before. The plot twists can easily be guessed and for the seasoned film lover there will hardly be any surprises lurking here. Moreover, when the characters do not reach deeper than the complaining teenage sister (a thankless role by Jade De Ridder) or the overworked mother of the house (Hilde De Baerdemaeker on autopilot), there is little to really keep the interest.

Yet ‘My father is a saucisse’ is not an actual bad product. The film has too many positives for that. Visually, the film regularly uses artistic collage parts (drawings by Zoë), which give the appearance of the film a special appearance. And then there is the successful chemistry between actors Johan Heldenbergh and Savannah Vandendriessche. They are completely believable as father and daughter. Their interplay is both comical and touching. This means that ‘My father is a saucisse’ is not a bad experience in the end. There’s just a huge lack of individuality here, something that really graced the film, and which took the result to a higher level.

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