Review: The Matchmaker (2018)


The Matchmaker (2018)

Directed by: Jeroen Houben | 92 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Ariane Schluter, Benja Bruijning, Eva van de Wijdeven, Loes Luca, Kasper van Kooten, Georgina Verbaan, Annet Malherbe, Sanne den Hartogh, Slimane Dazi, Gene Bervoets, Xander van Vledder, Leny Breederveld, Hajo Bruins, Kees Hulst, Romana Peace, Leopold Witte

Ariane Schluter and Benja Bruijning play mother Marja and son Chris in the new Dutch feel-good film ‘De matchmaker’. The relationship between the two is not very good. Chris is a photographer and travels the world. This means that he is never home to maintain his family ties. He therefore attaches little value to this. When Mother’s sixtieth birthday approaches and the shooting yields little money, Chris is forced to return home. The small typical Dutch village is soon too small if everything turns out to be the same as when he once left. Chris wants to leave as soon as possible, so a new job to make a promo for a matchmaking website is just right. Since the mother is still single after the death of her husband after years, she seems to be a perfect subject for the film. However?

In itself, ‘The matchmaker’ is a very solid film. All players act well. All characters are portrayed convincingly through natural and balanced play. Still, it seems as if the scenario falls short. Somehow the film lacks some kind of flow. It seems as if the important moments are rushed by and the less important moments are smeared out. This means that the heart of the film (what the film is really about) seems to be getting lost. The story is clear and the characters are also clearly portrayed: the selfish and immature Chris, the “too good for this world” mother and the sister with a fear of contamination (Georgina Verbaan). The properties are reflected in the sets, rooms and actions as an extension of the characters. But despite the characters and motives being crystal clear, there is a lack of connection. Main character Chris (despite Bruijning’s natural charm) barely wins the sympathy of the audience. His selfishness and indifference are emphasized in such a way that as an audience you don’t really like his character much. A few moments of gentleness or remorse would not have been superfluous. This means that the excellent acting of the actors cannot only support the film.

For a feel-good film that pretends to be ‘The Matchmaker’, there is a lot of Dutch sobriety. There is certainly a certain kind of humor in the film and the expected happy ending, but due to the naivety of the main character, the warm feeling in the gut that you would expect from a feel-good film is missing. ‘The matchmaker’ is a bit between a comedy and a drama. The humor doesn’t always seem well-timed and the drama is always canceled out by Chris’s callousness. This means that the sensitive nerve is never touched, or that the laughing muscles are really put to work. All this in itself is not bad, but does not meet the expectations of “feel good”.

‘The matchmaker’ is a decent film, but without excesses. The acting of the actors is more than fine, but the warm feel-good feeling is not there. Despite the fact that we Dutch have already proven ourselves in this genre, this film will probably not stay with us for very long.

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