De Helaasheid der Dingen (The Misfortunates)
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De Helaasheid der Dingen (The Misfortunates)
A boy growing up with a family of Flemish slobs learns more than his elders imagined they were capable of teaching in this purposefully rude comedy drama. Gunther Strobbe (Kenneth Vanbaeden) is 13 years old and living with his father, Marcel (Koen De Graeve), his three uncles (Bert Haelvoet, Johan Heldenbergh and Wouter Hendrickx), and his grandmother (Gilda De Bal). You would think that Gunther has more than enough adult role models in his life, but the Strobbes are not an ordinary family; Marcel works part-time as a letter carrier, though the fact there are several bars on his route makes… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"If Ken Loach and Roberto Benigni went into a bar, drank themselves into a stupor and emerged the next morning with a screenplay, it might look a lot like The Misfortunates."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, NPR
"There's whimsy and raunchy humor here, but also an underlying sense of darkness and despair."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"A debauched clan of Belgian mullet-heads backdrop a heatfelt comedy"
‑ Corey Hall, Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
"One thing's for certain though: The director's vision of this story allows for more uncertainty than Gunther's ever would."
‑ Christian Blauvelt, Slant Magazine
"A bawdy, heartfelt glimpse into a proudly dysfunctional Belgium family."
‑ Douglas Pratt, Hollywood Reporter
"An appalling childhood may risk making you an unhappy person when you grow up, but it almost guarantees a great yarn."
‑ Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"The Misfortunates moves from intentionally depressing to, in the end, mildly uplifting -- but that likely comes too late to win over an audience that's been strapped to such a vulgar, offputting ensemble."
‑ Gerald Peary, Boston Phoenix
"The white-trash Strobbe family is investigated with both ribaldry and poignance."
‑ Harvey S. Karten, Compuserve
"The Misfortunates is a bleak comedy that's not as funny or grim as it needs to be."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Comedy doesn't get any more tragic than this."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"It's perfectly plausible that you might never want to visit Belgium after seeing Felix van Groeningen's offensive '80s tale of familial dysfunction."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"It's a Miserable Life"
‑ S. James Wegg, JWR
More reviews for De Helaasheid der Dingen (The Misfortunates) on Rotten Tomatoes