February 2002. An Argentinian mother and her daughter visit Amsterdam during the wedding of prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima. She is looking for a miracle, the reappearing of her husband Alejandro, who got lost during the regime. She experiences difficulty as the police don't believe her story. On top of it all her daughter disappears in the crowd. Police officer Felix Bos also has a problem. His girlfriend Min has just heard some bad news. She's going to be evicted from the country. The situation brings Felix into trouble with the police. This is also the day he finds out his mother couldn't have been his mother.Written by
Arnoud Tiele (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Every once in a while a Dutch film comes along that proves it is still possible to create a relatively intelligent, entertaining, moving and visually soothing film right here on the grey, concrete soils of the beautiful place that Holland once was. De Poolse Bruid is one of them. Wonder van Maxima is another.
In Het Wonder van Maxima Paul Ruven makes good use of the city of Amsterdam, turning it into the setting for various complex and yet accessible story lines, inhabited by appealing characters. The actual wedding of Maxima of Argentina to Dutch prince Willem Alexander in 2002 forms the central element within the fiction, and real footage of the event has been marvelously and convincingly blended with new footage and staged scenery. Yet Maxima & Willem, no matter how nice a couple they make, are not what Ruven is concerned with. He focuses on an Argentinian mother and her young, mute daughter from a town that, with its people, has disappeared from Argentina's map: taken away, neatly disposed of and almost forgotten.
There are a lot of social points made in the film that touch the heart and make sense. Many symbolic and literal references are made to what was wrong in Argentina then and what's going wrong in the Netherlands now. Ruven has succeeded in every aspect to make a good film and tell a good story - albeit sometimes with the help of very melodramatic themes and even a forced and strange story line which involves a foreign girl literally on the run from the police who want to send her back to her hostile homeland. For some reason she thinks it of crucial importance -and somehow she finds the time- to convince a tough Madame in the red light district to meet with her son (the girl's boyfriend), who was given up for adoption as a baby. It only serves to pour more melodrama all over us: mother and son do meet, in the very hospital room where the stepmother has just passed on...
Yet, Wonder van Maxima works miraculously. I strongly recommend others to watch it, for it's not a film that can be captured in one review. Paul Ruven has done a great job, and on the whole he seems very sincere in his humanist message to the audience. The whole project is high quality stuff: screenplay, soundtrack, cinematography, editing, and on top of it all a strong, talented cast with stunning performances especially by Spanish actress Sylvia Munt and the beautiful girl who plays her daughter. Compliments for all involved!
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