Review: Achtste-groepers huilen niet (2012)

Directed by Dennis Bots, 2012.

The past decades, Dutch Cinema suffered a bad reputation among the people in the Netherlands. After watching more than three hundred Dutch movies, I can say with certainty: whichever Dutch person claims that the Netherlands doesn’t produce good movies probably never watched the right ones. True, we are guilty of making shamefully bad movies such as Costa! (2001) and Dood Eind (2006) but this can mostly be blamed on those Dutch moviegoers that would rather see Dutch hillbillies curse at each other than watch a thought-provoking movie like Het Echte Leven (2008.)”

Achtste-groepers huilen niet (or: Cool Kids Don’t Cry) is a very realistic display of what primary school is like for Dutch kids in their last grade. Unlike many other (Dutch) children’s movies, it takes itself and its target audience seriously, which is a very welcome relief. The plot concerns Akkie, an 11-year old girl who loves playing soccer. When she is diagnosed with leukemia it strongly affects her life and the lives of the parents and children around her. Hanna Obbeek, the 14-year old actress who portrays Akkie is amazing to watch: very rarely do child actors play such strong roles. Akkie is a vivid, lively, and optimistic force of energy throughout the movie. The strength of her spirit while facing an awful disease is inspiring. The dynamics between Akkie and bully Joep (Nils Verkooijen) further solidify this movie as a small Dutch gem.

Official poster (Credit: Achtste-groepers huilen niet)

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