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Film / Alles Is Liefde

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Love is everywhere. And we all want it. But love is like Sinterklaas: you have to believe in it, or it won't come.

Known internationally as Love Is All.

A 2007 Dutch movie with multiple interweaving plotlines all involving (romantic) love, set against the backdrop of the Dutch national holiday of Sinterklaas.

If this does remind you of Love Actually: yes, this film actually is the Dutch reinterpretation of that U.K. film, but it changed the holiday from Christmas to the (also set in December) Dutch holiday of Sinterklaas.

The core storylines are these:

  • Kiki is a single woman seemingly very cynical about love, while in reality secretly pining for her true love. She meets a prince and they are instantly attracted to each other, but her cynicism and his royal status keep a romance from developing initially.
  • Meanwhile, Kiki's Cool Big Brother Victor is about to get married to the love of his life, Kees; but Kees is acting insecure about whether he wants to get married. Also, Kees' being about to get married, makes Kees worry about how he himself never had a father in his life.
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  • Klaasje's husband Dennis has recently cheated on her with the school teacher (Sarah) of their son—after which Klaasje left him; thus now they're separated. She also has to deal with her father Tom's (the actor normally playing Sinterklaas) recent death.
  • Klaasje's best friend, Simone, meanwhile, is suspecting her husband, Ted, of having an affair. However, Ted is not having an affair, but rather has been laid off from work, which he is trying to hide from Simone out of shame.
  • Alicia works for the TV network covering Sinterklaas, and as such now is very busy—especially seeing that the actor who normally plays Sinterklaas (Klaasje's father) suddenly died, and she did find a replacement in Jan, but Jan isn't being cooperative about playing Sinterklaas and could walk away at any minute, to Alicia's distress.
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  • Daniel is a 16-year old boy who's Alicia's intern at the TV company, but is quickly fired because she finds him incompetent. And next he has his father's funeral, which doesn't go as planned...
  • There's also an elderly man with an undisclosed identity (though we do know his first name is Jan)—a man who just came back from living in Madrid, and who takes up the chance to play Sinterklaas this year, purely for the money, and begrudgingly. He initially doesn't seem related to any of the other characters, but it soon becomes clear he is.

A trailer with English subtitles is here.

This film provides examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Alicia is a Workaholic woman working at a TV station who has no life outside her career. When Jan is hurt by finding out his ex-wife has died in his absence, she consoles him by saying something that comes down to "love is what you make of it, you just have to work for it". Then at her last scene in the movie, when she's saying goodbye to Jan, Jan pierces her armor completely with this:
    Jan: When are you going to do what is making you happy?
    Alicia: [Suddenly insecure and fumbling] But, eh, this is, you know, the job I like to do, I really like it, really...
    Jan: I'm not talking about your job. When are you going to be open to love? Love is what you make of it, you know...
  • Artistic License – Law: Daniel is repeatedly stated to be 16 years old. The legal age you can get a driver's license in the Netherlands is 18, so Daniel can't have a driver's license. But in the scene where he's transporting the Pieten to the boat in a small van, he is seen to get behind the wheel to drive the van. Legally he can't drive though.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Jan has lived in Spain for a long time, and curses in (untranslated) Spanish when the make-up artist tucks hard at his beard. Hijo de puta!
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Alicia has a lot of stress at her job during most of the movie, and reaches for cigarettes seemingly to relieve this. Also done by Ted—when he is dealing with just being laid off and the difficulty of keeping that from his wife, he reaches for cigarettes. And Dennis reaches for a cigarette when stressing about his pending divorce—on a school playground, though, so he is quickly made clear that he isn't allowed to smoke here.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Kiki meets the Prince by (almost) crashing into him with a horse-drawn carriage; then when she's getting off the carriage, she falls and he has to catch her.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kees' father abandoned Kees when the latter was three years old and hasn't been in Kees' life since. Subverted at the end, when Jan, the mysterious stranger playing Sinterklaas, turns out to be Kees' father, and now fully commits to that relationship.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Tom, Klaasje's father, is introduced at the beginning of the film as the one who's playing Sinterklaas and as such seems important. But within the first ten minutes of the film, he suddenly drops dead from a heart attack (which sets in motion most of the plot).
  • Due to the Dead: Tom van Ophorst's funeral is shown, and the ceremony is very much fitted to how he was in life: he was an actor and at his funeral a lot of actors are present and recite Shakespeare etc.; and specifically he liked to play Sinterklaas, and this is commemorated by his daughter by citing a poem and sprinkling pepernoten (both are Sinterklaas traditions). Meanwhile, in the room next door Daniel's father's funeral is happening; his family is fairly traditionally Jewish and their funeral is much more serious and traditional. Both families carry out their funerals in accordance to how their deceased loved one was in life.
  • Gay Groom in a White Tux: Either played exaggerated, or subverted, depending on how you look at it (the Trope played straight would be one of them dressed in white, the other in black); Victor and Kees both wear white tuxedos to their wedding.
  • Genki Girl: Kiki is energetic, talks a lot and talks fast, and shows many emotions.
  • I Never Told You My Name: When Kiki and Prince Valentijn meet, he addresses her with her first and last name, to which she confusedly asks "How do you know my name?"—though a second later she realizes he read it from the name tag she's wearing.
  • Meaningful Name: Tom is famous for having played Sinterklaas on national TV for years, and he named his daughter Klaasje—apparently Sinterklaas was really important for him. More so considering that "Klaas" is a normal male name, but "Klaasje" (even though in Dutch the suffix -je is used to denote women) isn't a usual name, and kind of a Gender-Blender Name, for a woman.
  • Parental Issues: When Kees is about to get married, he gets anxious about this because he never knew his father. Probably resolved at the end, as he meets his biological father and forms a bond with him.
  • Pregnancy Test Plot: Simone does a pregnancy test at the end and finds out she's pregnant, which apparently was unplanned, and it's also Played for Drama because she is suspecting her husband of cheating on her at the time.
  • Runaway Bride: Rare male example: Kees runs away from the altar at the very last minute when he's about to marry Victor.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Jan playing Sinterklaas, just after he took a dive into the canal to save a child from drowning, is urged by Alicia to go on acting and ride the white horse along the quay. Instead, he bolts and runs away and disappears. He does it again at the end and climax of the movie, when it's Sinterklaas Evening and it would be his biggest performance.
  • Snow Means Love: In the ending scene, it snows for the first time during the movie and everybody is hugging and kissing with their beloved ones after having made up with each other.
  • Third-Person Person: When Tom van Ophorst arrives to play his role of Sinterklaas, he says "Well, guys, he's here!" where with "he" he refers to himself.
  • Undertaker: Kees' job is undertaker. He's the one Klaasje needs to deal with when her father just died, and he is very empathetic towards her regarding her dealing with her loss. However, Kees also recently lost his own mother, and that, combined with the stress of his upcoming wedding, makes him emotionally vulnerable and prone to make a mistake.
  • Workaholic: Alicia seems to have no life outside of her job at the TV network, and doesn't even seem to realize that she's actually unhappy about missing love in her life.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Klaasje's husband Dennis cheated on her with the school teacher of their son, which has led to their separation.
    • Subverted in Simone & Ted's storyline, as she suspects him of cheating but he never did.

Alternative Title(s): Love Is All


Example of: