Review: The Heart of Hadiah Tromp (2018)


The Heart of Hadiah Tromp (2018)

Directed by: Erik de Bruyn | 90 minutes | comedy, romance, music | Actors: Chloé Leenheer, Valentijn Benard, Jacqueline Blom, Mike Weerts, André Dongelmans, Jade Olieberg, Melody Klaver, Eva Layla Schipper, Peter Heerschop, Manoushka Zeegelaar Breeveld, Stacyian Jackson, Puck Pomelien Busser, Sjaak-Pieter van Es, Marco Maas, Finn Poncin, Korneel Evers, Kevin Hassing, Donnya ZIdan

Telefilm ‘The heart of Hadiah Tromp’ is on paper a romantic comedy with musical traits, but none of those genres really stand out. And it starts out so promising. Within five minutes of the start, a (somewhat short) musical number immediately sets the tone: it is as if things seem to be slightly outside reality. But soon after, the film throws its own glasses again, because we see the main character look hesitating: “Did my colleagues just burst into singing or did I imagine that?”

Hadiah was sent by her father, who is a naval officer (note the last name), to go to naval training. But she’s glad she’s done with it and that internship? He can easily forget that. She wants to travel to her boyfriend Julian, preferably to Jamaica, where her (deceased) mother came from, and listen to some ska music. In a short conversation with two friends (one of whom quickly disappears from view), Hadiah is made clear that she really has to go to her boyfriend’s tennis club quickly and of course we as viewers have known for a long time that the relationship between the tennis teacher and Julian isn’t as innocent as it seems.

Before ‘The heart of Hadiah Tromp’ really gets going, or before Hadiah finally goes on a sailing internship, we get some isolated scenes that serve nothing. What about the fragment with Korneel Evers as a Genesis fan (kudos to the painted car, but it is absolutely impossible that he was at a concert in the Gabriel era in the mid-seventies)? Or the superlative of bizarre: the scene in the shoe store? We stick to the ‘just a little bit outside of reality’, but the filmmakers are unable to bring the film back into balance.

Because on the naval frigate, the film seems to go in a completely different direction, which again does not rhyme with what we have seen before. The lighthearted Hadiah constantly clashes with her superior, Sergeant Major Paul Borremans, who just lives for rules. But according to the laws of romance, opposites attract and it’s no different here. Moreover, towards the end, Hadiah makes a choice that does not match her character at all. The incident feels strange, especially now that sexual harassment has finally been made more open to discussion, almost as if that’s why it’s there, but it’s uncomfortable from all sides.

The setting is original and the enthusiastic cast is not the cause, but ‘The heart of Hadiah Tromp’ is a mishmash of half-developed ideas and genres rubbing against each other – while it doesn’t have to be. Too serious for a rom-com, too little music for a musical, and too realistic for a fairy tale. And the story just doesn’t grab your attention, so you’ll be distracted again in no time. Sin.

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