Pauline & Paulette
Sisters. Paulette and Pauline do some bonding
dir Lieven Debrauwer
scr Jaak Boon, Lieven Debrauwer
with Dora van der Groen, Ann Petersen, Rosemarie Bergmans, Idwig Stephane, Julienne De Bruyn, Jenny Tanghe, Herman Coessens, Camilia Blereau, Magda Cnudde, Nand Buyl, Francois Beukelaers, Raymond Van Herbergen
release UK 12.Apr.02
01/Belgium 1h20

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
sisters This Belgian award winner is so warm and touching it hurts. Pauline (van der Groen, who is apparetly one of Belgium's national treasures) is a simple-minded woman. One of four sisters, she lives with eldest sister Martha (De Bruyn), and every day pops into town to see her favourite sister Paulette (Petersen) in her colourful fabric shop. Then Martha dies, and her will insists that Pauline must live with either Paulette or the youngest sister Cecile (Bergmans), who lives in Brussels with her boyfriend (Stephane). Well, Pauline and Cecile each have their own lives, so a struggle is afoot. But it's clear where Pauline would rather be.

This is a sugary story in which yet another fine actor plays a mentally disabled character to much acclaim ... even though the story is formulaic and the performance itself is rather mannered and mechanic. You know a major change of heart is coming for Paulette long before it happens. So where's the interest in watching? Despite the unsubtle acting though, the characters are endearing enough to stick with for 80 minutes. Even if there are no new themes in the film ... or anything else we haven't seen many times before. Yes, it's preachy about selfishness and family connections. And the musical score is annoying in that respect too. The film is also fairly relentless in its attempts to find comedy in embarrassment, which in this case is rather offensive. Cute and sweet, but honestly: yuck.
themes cert PG 20.Mar.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
sisters send your review to Shadows... Myra Nicholson, South Bend Indiana: "I watched this film twice. It rates in my top ten favorite feel good films. The beautiful point to this movie is this: Are we truly loved by anyone in a meaningful way on this earth? If you watch this film, a quiet voice within you might be trying to speak to you. Because the ending is not predictable! It has a poignant twist. The strong confident sister realizes that she needs the weaker handicapped sister in her life. This is the pleasant and emotionally satisfying surprise. But this is not a gloomy movie at all! Watch it and be given some hope for better things than the world has shown us to be be true lately." (15.Feb.05)

Kristien, Belgium: 5/5 "I've seen this film 4x now, and I can't stop crying every time, it so thoughing. This movie makes me proud to be Belgian!" (29.Jun.06)

2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall