|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Production country:||Niederlande/USA 2012|
|Running time:||Approx. 100 min.|
Twin sisters Sofie (Carice Van Houten) and Daan (Jelka Van Houten) couldn't be more different. While single Sofie lives only for her job and focuses on her calculated career planning instead of feelings, Daan longs for harmony and happiness. Growing up with their two gay fathers, the sisters never got to know their mother. But that's about to change 33 years after their birth when a phone call from the U.S. reaches them: their birth mother Jackie (Holly Hunter) is in the hospital with a compound fracture and has no one to care for her. Daan manages to persuade Sofie to fly to America together to meet the woman who carried her for their fathers. For the sisters, this begins a journey in which their lives and also their relationship with each other are completely turned upside down.
Jackie - Who Needs a Mother is a road movie of a very special kind. Director Antoinette Beumer, who recently celebrated great success in her home country with the remake of the Flemish thriller Loft, tells the story of an unusual family reunion with a lot of humour, but also a lot of emotion, without drifting into the dreaded kitsch. Three aspects in particular make the film work so well. The first and probably most important aspect is the chemistry between Carice and Jelka Van Houten. The two may not be twins in real life, but the fact that they are sisters is more than positively noticeable in their perfectly harmonizing acting. Although Sofie and Daan are completely different characters, they come across as completely believable as sisters, which is a great advantage not only in the more emotional moments, but also in the comedic timing.
The second aspect is that even in the German version, the bilingualism of the original version has been preserved. Holly Hunter and all the other English-speaking actors were not dubbed, but merely subtitled. This adds to the film's authenticity and atmosphere, which are also furthered by the third aspect. This is a view of the USA that is rarely seen in cinema. Far away from all Hollywood clichés Sofie and Daan travel with Jackie through a country where the people somehow look quite normal and just not like the typical Hollywood beauties, where there is a lot of visible poverty and rough but beautiful landscapes.
The impression, which is very positive because of these three aspects, is only marred by the fact that Beumer here and there falls back on a few almost annoying clichés, which the film would not have needed at all for its entertainment value or emotional impact. For example, right from the start of a scene in which Daan tries her hand at singing in a bar while Sofie dances with a patron, it's clear that they're going to be harassed as they leave the bar in front of a group of arguably pushy hillbillies. Not only does this sequence just not want to fit the context in terms of tone, but it also feels completely predictable and hackneyed, unlike most of the other scenes in the film.
Although the ending isn't exactly a prime example of believability, and there's something almost fairy tale about the transformation Sofie and Daan undergo on their journey, a very positive overall impression prevails in the end. The three leading actresses are just great, especially Holly Hunter with her quirky, taciturn performance leaves a lasting impression, the beautiful shots of the New Mexico desert and the great soundtrack, on which Jelka Van Houten also proves to be a very talented singer, make Jackie - Who Needs a Mother a very nice good mood film, in which not only female fans of charming arthouse comedies can enjoy. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp