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Film / Alles Is Familie

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"People say "love" is a verb... well, "family" is a verb too!"

A 2012 Dutch movie, directed by Joram Lürsen. Spiritual Successor to Alles Is Liefde and shares the director and many actors; but while the latter movie mainly was about romantic love, this one is more about family love/relationships.

It follows a family of two parents and their grown children(-in-law) who all are at a cross-point in their lives, with a focus on how that influences their relationships with each other.

  • Rutmer de Roover is a musician who's selling well, but is still wanting for the real great hit. He is married to Winnie, and the couple have just found out, after they had been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, that he's infertile. They now consider using a sperm donor, though Rutmer isn't very enthusiastic about the idea, mainly because he doesn't want to use a sperm bank. But then he has the idea to use his brother Charlie as the sperm donor. There's one problem though: Winnie and Charlie can't stand each other.
  • His younger brother Charlie, an aspiring food chef, leads a careless life of sleeping around and repeatedly losing jobs. The other characters feel he should settle down now, but Charlie doesn't have any desire for that. Due to what's going on with the rest of his family however, he begins to rethink what he really wants with his life.
  • Their brother-in-law Dick lost his wife Anouk (Rutmer and Charlie's sister) two years ago. He is very close with his in-laws. The other characters feel it's about time Dick starts being open to romantic love again, but he doesn't want that. He is still mourning the loss of his wife, and now his entire life is being the single-parent of his two children, and his job as caretaker of monkeys in a zoo.
  • Jeanette and Arend are the parents, and are 65-70 years old. While they have been happily married to each other for almost 40 years, they now in old age suddenly tell their family they don't feel it anymore and are separating. The children(-in-law) react devastated, especially Rutmer.

An English-subtitled trailer can be found here.

This film provides examples of:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Winnie is ranting about her disapproval of the casual lifestyle Charlie (who's also a Team Chef) lives, she says "Life is more than smoking weed, jerking off and baking pancakes!"
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Winnie expresses this sentiment when she tries to convince Rutmer to go along with the donor sperm insemination plan: she says to him that "having a baby will increase [his] creativity so much..." (and thus help in his job—he's a song-writer).
  • Captain Crash: Charlie is mentioned to have already damaged multiple cars and scooters in the past, and in the movie twice is distracted while driving because he's fumbling with the car radio (which first leads to him almost driving into water, and later to him unintendedly running over a boar). On top of that, he doesn't even own a car of his own and the damaged vehicles were all Rutmer's. He's also mentioned to have driven a car into a canal once.
  • The Casanova: Charlie easily picks up women and sleeps around.
  • Food Fight:
    • Rutmer and Charlie fight each other with pancake batter.
    • Rutmer uses a big piece of meat to slap Charlie in the face, after Charlie plays a prank on him.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Rutmer and Winnie have a, by Dutch standards, very big and luxurious house, which includes a big garden and a private swimming pool. Given that the movie explicitly states that Rutmer is a struggling musician (so he certainly isn't making much money), and Winnie did sell some books and runs a psychology practice so gets by but is never stated to be rich, their being able to afford this sort of housing is highly unlikely.
  • Gratuitous English: Rutmer says, amongst other things, "What's the verdict?" to Lodewijk, and "Problem solved" to Winnie, in English, even though it's not his native language.
  • Gratuitous French:
    • Arend says the French word "occupée", for occupied, instead of Dutch, when he's using the bathroom and someone knocks on the door.
    • When characters open a bottle of wine, they say in French Du vin!, "some wine!".
  • Happily Married: Zig-zagged with Arend and Jeanette. At the beginning of the movie they seem to be happily married; Winnie even says to them "you have found the secret of [how to have] the perfect marriage". Then they suddenly announce they are getting divorced after 40 years of marriage because their feelings for each other are over, which comes as a complete shock to the other characters. Then they get back together and pretend everything is good. But at the end of the movie they admit to each other the marriage is really over, and they end the marriage (on good terms).
  • Henpecked Husband:
    • Jeanette is pretty domineering towards Arend.
    • Winnie doesn't give Rutmer so much to say about how they're going to go about the sperm donation, and insists on her own way.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Winnie and Rutmer have long been trying to get pregnant but are told they can't conceive together.
  • Mood Whiplash: The anniversary party is first played for laughs, with everybody acting excited and getting drunk and a ridiculous poem being speeched. Then it cuts to Rutmer, Winnie and Charlie being in a room together, revealing previously-kept-secret things to each other, which leads to a very heavy discussion.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Rutmer and Winnie are 36 and 35 and she stresses about that if they won't get pregnant soon, they might be getting too old (the infertility problem complicates it even more, of course).
  • No-Hit Wonder: Rutmer is a musician who's still trying to come up with the song that's the unforgettable hit, but apparently his band is still selling well. note 
  • Not Wanting Kids Is Weird: Winnie accuses Charlie of being immature and selfish for his not wanting kids (or to get married).
  • Noodle Incident:
    • It's mentioned in passing that Charlie set Winnie's bridal dress on fire during her wedding to Rutmer, but never are any details mentioned, such as if this happened accidentally or on purpose.
    • Winnie mentions a few times that Charlie has wrecked a few of Rutmer's cars—one time even apparently driving one into a canal.
  • Oblivious to Love: While it is obvious to the viewer and other characters that Linda has a big crush on Dick, he himself doesn't have a clue until Charlie hints it to him, and then Linda herself spells it out to him.
  • Obnoxious Inlaws: Inverted. Daughter-in-law Winnie really loves her in-laws (with the exception of Charlie) and even remarks how happy she is with them since her own family are ass-holes. Dick is also very close with his in-laws, and fits in with the de Roovers as if he's their own child/brother.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Arend and Jeanette had a daughter, Anouk, who died prior to the movie (she herself had two small children, who now don't have a mother anymore).
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: When Jeanette and Arend announce they're getting separated, Jeanette mentions that it's not because of their sex life, because that always has been great. The children look a bit uncomfortable to hear this, and Charlie even starts nervously giggling. Jeanette kind of lampshades the Trope by saying "Yes, your father and I have a sex life. I don't get what's so funny about that, deal with it."
  • Posthumous Character: Character Anouk doesn't appear in the movie, since she died prior to the events of the movie. She is frequently mentioned though, since she's the other characters' sister/daughter/wife/mother and thus was/is important to them.
  • Shipper on Deck: Charlie is the one suggesting and encouraging Dick to go on a date with Linda.
  • Shout-Out:
    • After Lodewijk gets arrested for soliciting sex with a male prostitute, he says that Rutmer should write a song about this because George Michael also did so (with "Let's Go Outside") after getting caught having sex in a public toilet.
    • Lionel Richie is often mentioned, as he's Rutmer's big inspiration and Rutmer even met him once.
  • Source Music: Most of the music is heard by the characters In Universe as well as the viewer. One main character is a musician and performs many songs, also people sing to themselves or listen to stereos a lot.
  • Stress Vomit: The second Winnie finds out that she has been lied to about the identity of the sperm donor, and worst of all, who it actually was, she vomits out of shock, disgust and anger. The fact that she's pregnant at the time, could have facilitated it, but it clearly happens out of emotional shock.
  • Team Chef: Charlie works in a restaurant, wants to be a cook, and judging from his (though messy) kitchen and the fact that he loves to cook for his family, really loves to cook as a hobby. His co-worker who wants to start a bistro in Paris is one too.
  • Unfortunate Names: There's a (grown, male) character called Skipper. When Winnie first mentions him, Rutmers reaction is "What kind of kangaroo is that?". It then turns into a running gag where Rutmer, anytime he refers to Skipper, doesn't call him that but refers to him as different animals ("the beaver", "that hamster", etc.)
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: When the drunk Rutmer vomits at the party, his sounds make clear what is happening but he is filmed from the back when bent over the sink, so nothing of the vomit(ing) can be seen.