Mini-Review: In the Heart

Here is the synopsis for this film as listed on the IMDb:

Masha (37) is in an overwhelming relationship with Luuk, father of two and separated. Nothing seems to stand in their way until Luuk turns incurably ill, leaving Masha without status.

What is interesting about this film is the way it plays with the traditional meet-cute formula in act one with a couple that’s a bit more mature. Luuk is divorced with children and Masha has never been in a relationship. The typical romcom plot exhausts most of its plot points in this entertaining, funny and charming first act and then the aforementioned life-changing event alters the path and the genre of the film. This is the film’s strongest and most unique point.

The sequence when Luuk is diagnosed and the immediate fallout thereof is the next strongest section of the film and is ultimately what buoys it over the finish line.

However, the film does lose some of its momentum as it pulls into its inevitable conclusion the button on the story is strong and well-earned, but it does lose a lot of what if could’ve been in getting there.

Much of what slows it down is that the tension amongst makeshift family members ends up being as frustrating for us as it is for Luuk. Which does help us identify with him but it seems that, even as emotional as they are that the ex-wife/girlfriend tension is ill-timed, repetitive and unfortunate.

Kim van Kooten is highly effective in this film and her charms are equally evident in both distinct portions of the narrative. Though his character here follows a similar trajectory as his in Time of My Life Koen De Graeve is wonderful here playing a different kind of man in a similar process.

In the Heart was released in Netherlands in January. Should it hit other markets it is worth looking into if you are intrigued. While I lamented what it could have been it is still an enjoyable experience with memorable performances.