Directed by: Will Koopman | 68 minutes | romance, drama | Actors: Noortje Herlaar, Jeroen Spitzenberger, Laura van Bussel, Teun Luijkx, Ruben Lürsen, Meral Polat, Claire Bender, Olinda Larralde Ortiz, Lidewij Mahler, Daniel Kemna, Lili Kooijman
The Bouquet series novel: it is a household name. They are sold more than a hundred million times worldwide and you can assume that they are also read. The easy-to-read booklets are used by young (15+) and old and – although you might not expect it – by both highly and low-educated people to swoon away. When it was announced that a real Dutch Bouquet series film was coming for the first time, it raised eyebrows, but of course also enthusiastic reactions from the fans of the love stories. Director Will Koopman (‘Gooische Vrouwen’) turns out to be cut out for the difficult task of turning a story full of clichés into a credible and entertaining film.
‘Pride & Desire’ (also known as ‘The Film Bouquet Series: Pride and Desire’) is about real estate lawyer Dominique Curvers (Noortje Herlaar). Through her work she comes into contact with real estate magnate Alexander Wissing (Jeroen Spitzenberger). Her boss tells her to make the stay of the businessman who normally resides in Spain as pleasant as possible, because if this deal is done, they will make a lot of money. Of course, a spark immediately jumps between the two, and when Alexander asks her late at night to bring a few files to his hotel room, that spark becomes a blazing fire.
After a few passionate hours together (delicately portrayed) Dominique overhears Alexander on the phone and assumes that it is his partner who was abandoned in Spain. So she feels too much and leaves without saying anything. The next morning the two have to work together again and of course the atmosphere has cooled down considerably. When Dominique’s boss goes too far during a dinner party, Dominique decides to quit her job. With her qualifications, she has such a different job, but that is not so easy.
Alexander has deviously arranged that Dominique has no choice but to accept his offer to work for him. She leaves for Spain for two months, determined to maintain her position towards Alexander. But under the Spanish sun, the two are drawing closer and closer.
As a Bouquet series film, ‘Pride & Desire’ is 100% successful. All the necessary elements are present: the attractive, very wealthy (!) Man, the handsome, intelligent woman and a cartload of misunderstandings and problems that can be resolved in fifteen minutes, but with which we wait until the last. The surrounding story also tries to add depth: for example, Dominique has a financially and emotionally dependent younger sister, who stays in a private clinic (and who is the main reason for Dominique to fill Alexander’s vacancy) and Alexander has difficulty with finding the right balance in the upbringing process of his fourteen-year-old daughter.
In short: ‘Pride & Desire’ is extremely suitable for fans of swooning films who want to make sure that nobody gets killed (à la Nicolas Sparks). The acting is satisfactory – it is great that the actors are able to convey some cringe-worthy sentences that are only uttered on paper in a credible way. The audience that makes more demands on a film can quietly ignore ‘Pride & Desire’.