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The Misfortunates(De helaasheid der dingen)

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Belgium, Netherlands · 2009
1h 48m
Director Felix van Groeningen
Starring Kenneth Vanbaeden, Valentijn Dhaenens, Koen De Graeve, Wouter Hendrickx
Genre Comedy, Drama

In this bittersweet meditation on dysfunctional family life, novelist and soon-to-be father Gunther reflects on his childhood that was ridden with alcoholism and instability. This poignant coming-of-age drama finds tenderness amid the chaos of breaking free from one's upbringing.

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Time Out by

Adapted from Dimitri Verhulst’s semi-autobiographical novel with a flair that recalls the squalor-and-dazzle visuals of “Trainspotting,” Felix Van Groeningen’s highly entertaining tale is full of hilarity, horror and heartbreak (sometimes within the same scene).


L.A. Weekly by Chuck Wilson

Deftly mixing the visual exuberance of “Trainspotting” with the familial pathos of “Angela’s Ashes,” the gifted van Groeningen offers gleeful depictions of drinking contests and naked bicycle races that gradually give way to a sense of moral peril for young Gunther.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

They drink at the pub, they drink at home. They drink until they pass out and then, after they have had a good vomit, they drink again. If that sounds too disgusting to watch, it almost is.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

The acting is super -- these guys know how to be sweet and disgusting -- and the story provides its share of laughs. But after a while, the one-note movie, directed by Felix van Groeningen, grows tiresome.