7.4/10
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10 user 57 critic

The Misfortunates (2009)

De helaasheid der dingen (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 9 April 2010 (USA)
13-year-old Gunther Strobbe grows up surrounded by alcohol, trash and his completely useless father and uncles. Slowly but surely, he's being prepared for the same hapless life. Can he defy his destiny?

Writers:

Christophe Dirickx (screenplay), Dimitri Verhulst (novel) | 1 more credit »

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8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Vanbaeden Kenneth Vanbaeden ... Kleine Gunther
Valentijn Dhaenens Valentijn Dhaenens ... Gunther
Koen De Graeve ... Celle
Wouter Hendrickx ... Petrol
Johan Heldenbergh ... Breejen
Bert Haelvoet ... Koen
Gilda De Bal Gilda De Bal ... Meetje
Natali Broods ... Rosie
Pauline Grossen Pauline Grossen ... Sylvie
Sofie Palmers Sofie Palmers ... Vriendin Gunther
Guy Dermul Guy Dermul ... Directeur school
Jos Geens Jos Geens ... André
Robbie Cleiren Robbie Cleiren ... Deurwaarder
Sara De Bosschere Sara De Bosschere ... Nele Fockedey
Wout Kelchtermans Wout Kelchtermans ... Kleine Franky
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Storyline

In Reetveerdegem (English would be Arsefeatherham), a fictitious derelict hamlet near run-down industrial city Aalst (Alost), five debt-burdened drop-out Strobbe brothers move back in with their pensioned mother 'Meetje', still wasting their lives in dead-end jobs, alcohol, gambling and meaningless sex. Celle also took in, as if their baby brother, his son Gunther. Nobody expects the knave (13) to grow up and become a respectable citizen either, despite his better IQ and attitude, as his uncles' and father's mischief and reputation seem to sabotage every single opportunity. Discovering love may motivate him after all, or accidental paternity could drag him down to father's level. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Belgium | Netherlands

Language:

Dutch | Flemish

Release Date:

9 April 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shittiness of Things See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The official Belgian submission for the 2010 Academy Awards. See more »

Goofs

When Gunther is at the age of 13, there are trains in gray style passing in different scenes. But the new gray version was first introduced in the late 90's. See more »

Connections

Referenced in L'incertitude des choses (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lowland lowlifes
9 February 2010 | by johno-21See all my reviews

I saw this last month at the 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival where the film's director Felix van Groeningen attended my screening to take an audience Q&A following the film. Adapted from the Dimitri Verhulst novel by van Groeningen and Christopher Dirickx this is the story of young Gunter Strobe (Kenneth Vanbaeden) being brought up by his single and alcoholic father Marcel (Koen de Graeve) after his mother walked out on them. They live at grandma Strobe's (Gilda de Bal) house along with Gunter's hard partying uncles Petrol (Wouter Hendrickx), Beefcake (Johan Heldenbergh) and Koen (Bert Haelvort). the white trash family is so out of control that it's amazing that social services haven't taken Gunter out of this environment a long time ago, although they have threatened to. It's grandma Strobe with the only sensibility and sense of stability and guidance that keeps Gunter in the home but she has reached the point of exasperation in her the behavior of her sons. Valentijn Dhaenens plays the older Gunter looking back at his his childhood years and giving gratitude to his grandmother. this is an excellent cast. I only wish the grandmother's character was more developed and their was more of an on screen presence of her and also a little more of Gunter's mother and her marriage years to Marcel. The character of uncle Koen is underdeveloped as well. Many might find this film about a distasteful family distasteful as well but there is a lot to like in this relatively slow film and lots of dark comedy and genuine tragedy. This was Belgium's official submission to the 82nd Academy Awards for Best foreign Language film. It's van Groeningen's third film and the third time is a charm and I like this film. I'll look forward to more from the young director and more with a bigger budget hopefully. I loved the Roy Orbison scene. I would recommend this and give it an 8.5 out of 10.


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