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When It Melts

Het Smelt
2023 / 111m - Belgium
When It Melts poster

Adaptation of a book I never read. While the plot is pretty promising, it's the direction that ultimately fails the film. Veerle Baetens is a decent actress, but that doesn't make her a great director. The film is too basic and sticks to genre conventions a little too neatly, depriving it of any firm signature.

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Eva returns to her hometown when a party is set up in memory of one of her old friends. Going back isn't easy, as the town left her with deep scars, but Eva feels ready to face her traumas. The town harbors dark secrets, as neglect and outward appearance were deemed more important than justice.

The performances are solid, and that particular small-town Flemish vibe is present, but Baetens never reaches beyond the expected. I didn't care much for the Festen-like speech at the end (which was added for the film apparently) and the big traumatic finale lacks cinematic prowess. It's not a bad film, just a little plain and basic.