Directed by: Aniëlle Webster | 103 minutes | romance, comedy | Actors: Elise Schaap, Maarten Heijmans, Teun Luijkx, Anneke Blok, Michiel Romeyn, Maike Meijer, Aiko Beemsterboer, Jan-Paul Buijs, René van ‘t Hof, Mandela Wee Wee, Monica Geuze, Marie-Louise Stheins, Paul Groot, Owen Schumacher, Hannah van Lunteren, Beppie Melissen, Esther Scheldwacht, Carolien Spoor, Aus Greidanus sr.
Elise Schaap is currently in the spotlight. Not only did she win the Golden Televizier Star Actor / Actress 2019, for her great acting in TV programs such as ‘De TV-canteen’, Soof de serie ‘and’ Familie Kruys ‘, she also stars in the romantic comedy’ Wat is dan love ‘(2019) by director Aniëlle Webster (‘ Housewives don’t exist ‘, 2017). Schaap is praised for the excellent way in which she gives shape to characters; she has already played the role of celebrities such as Estelle Cruijff, Famke Louise, Olcay Gulsen and Nikkie Plessen. But especially her role of the Romanian Ruxandra in the TV series “Familie Kruys” makes her popular with the audience. In “What is Love,” Schaap plays Cato de Deugd, a successful divorce mediator who is renowned for her calm, communicative approach; she even wrote a bestseller about it. By coincidence, she is asked to work at the large law firm of Wim Boeker (Michiel Romeijn), a mastodon from the trade who will soon be retiring and is also looking for a successor. Despite her “goat wool sock image”, Cato is eager to become a partner, but to do so she first has to deal with the smooth Gijn (Maarten Heijmans), who is her opposite in all respects. For example, he goes all out in divorce cases, prefers to park his Porsche sideways in a disabled parking space, plays with stress balls in the form of breasts and, when the boss is not looking for a moment, dives into the toilet with secretaries – whom he calls ‘deer’. fast seesaw.
As you can feel with these kinds of films, it turns out that there is quite a nice guy behind that facade of clumsy jerkiness. And Cato in turn turns out to have more hair on their teeth than many people think. She is hardly out of place in the corporate world of the law firm, because she does not believe in true love. For eight years she has been in a relationship with the gentle musician Sander (Teun Luijkx), who may not have been successful and successful in life, but who loves her sincerely and is ready with a lovingly made prakkie when she comes home. Cato does not seem to get warm or cold, but it is of course nice and safe and familiar. Her parents (Beppie Melissen and René van ‘t Hof) have also been separated for years and her sister Judith (Maike Meijer) and her husband (Tjebbo Gerritsma) have been messing around for a while. So why would you believe in true love? Until she turns out to fall head over heels for Gijs and he for her too. For a woman who sees falling in love merely as “a lot of chemicals”, these feelings take some getting used to …
“Then What Is Love” is a romantic comedy that asks questions about the existence and meaning of true love, but then goes into it in full. Because the cynical approach from the beginning is not extended to the end by screenwriter Dorien Goertzen (“Rendez-Vous”, 2015). What starts refreshingly becomes more and more predictable and the questions the film asks itself are answered somewhat half-heartedly. Had we been dealing with actors of a lesser caliber here, “What then is love” with its conflicting message would have been a great disappointment. Fortunately, the cast is full of top actors, who take the film to the next level with ease. Of course there is Sheep, who knows how to bring Cato’s remarkable transformation from goat wool sock to career tiger as credible as no other makes binge drinking charming. On the other hand, there is the equally talented Maarten Heijmans, who, just like before in the excellent series “Klem”, shows that he can play an asshole perfectly, but one with a small heart. A force ball at work, but a purebred family man with his parents in Friesland. The characters are rich and also the smaller roles are filled by wonderful actors; of course Michiel Romeijn, who scores points with his appearance alone, but also Anneke Blok with her great timing, Beppie Melissen and René van ‘t Hof. Owen Schumacher and Paul Groot keep their roles (deliberately?) Small and it is the young Aiko Beemsterboer, who plays Cato’s teenage niece, who comes up with the most striking remarks. Only poor Teun Leuijkx comes off as a good-natured boob; his Sander is such a boy who wishes you the very best. If his heart gets broken, ours breaks a little bit.
Where Aniëlle Webster and Dorien Goertzen want to go with their story, is somewhat unclear and contradictory, but thanks to the cast full of great actors, the excellent humor and the characters who are sympathetic despite their flaws, we still hold “What is love” in our arms. Even if only for that fantastic Elise Schaap and Maarten Heijmans!