Alles is Liefde

A few weeks ago I saw my first Dutch movie. Though I had watched loads of episodes of Sesamstraat, Nijntje, and Barbapapa, I have been reluctant to watch my first Dutch feature film. Ok, perhaps nervous is a much more appropriate adjective. But that day in class, I was given no choice.

The way things work at the ROC language courses where I’m doing my inburgering is that new students start at various times of the year, attend classes for a full year, and then leave. To celebrate the last day of those lucky few who had put in their year’s worth, our teacher brought in cakes and other goodies and the last two hours of class were set aside to view a film.

I remember seeing advertisement posters for Alles is Leifde about this time last year, not long after I had left all behind in the US to come live with Hubs. It looked like my kind of movie – sappy romantic comedy with a happy ending – but I gave no more thought to it than that as there was no way I would have gotten any of it at that point had I gone to see it. I am happy to say that, a year later I was ready for it. Nothing went over my head and it was a film I thoroughly enjoyed. Not to mention the fact that this was a milestone for me… my first Dutch movie.

So, about the movie. There really is no better way to describe it than to call it the Dutch answer to Love, Actually. Alles is Liefde translates to ‘Everything is Love’ and, just like Love Actually, the film focuses on several people that are all somehow connected and their relationships. While Love Actually takes place during Christmas, Alles is Liefde takes place during Sinterklaas. Now, there have been other movies that have been terribly done knock-offs of Love, Actually. This is not one of them. I thought it was very well done and lots of fun. It’s a wonderful feel-good movie and, I’ll admit, it made me cry. Though I don’t think anyone noticed!

The film sports Bekende Nederlanders or BN’ers (Famous Dutch People) Paul de Leeuw and Carice van Houten. Mr. de Leeuw sings and hosts his own talk show in addition to acting, and Ms. van Houten who wowed audiences with her performance as Carmen in Komt een Vrouw bij de Dokter may be familiar to non-Dutch audiences as Tom Cruise’s wife in the 2008 film Valkyrie.

If Dutch is not your native language, level B1 is needed to fully understand the film, though A2ers should also be able to find it enjoyable. My success with this film now meant that I had no real reason to continue to shy away from seeing Komt een Vrouw… a review of which will come soon.

Did anyone else out there catch either Alles is Liefde or Komt een Vrouw? What did you think? What was the first film you ever saw in another language?

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8 Replies to “Alles is Liefde”

  1. Congratulations! I used to watch an afternoon Dutch soap opera before but since I started working, I couldnt devote any time, anymore.

    I usually watch films in Spanish since it comes closest to my language but I also enjoy watching Italian films. I havent tried a Dutch film yet. Although I watched an opera with a Dutch subtitle and I think I understood at least 75% of the story. I've stopped by inburgering so my Dutch is probably back to pre-school!

  2. Congratulations!

    The first film in Dutch I ever saw was Interview (pretty okay), others: The Dress (yay!), De Tweeling (good), Grimm (my favorite) and Zwarteboek (disappointed- the constant soundtrack is distracting and the acting was eh but story interesting)

  3. I wrote about Dutch films last year — there's a lot still that I haven't seen, and a lot that really aren't my cup of tea.

    I think I watched Alles is Liefde after completing my A2 course and didn't have too much trouble following the plot. My mother-in-law in Australia thought it was better than Love Actually.

    My colleagues and I are still arguing about Komt een vrouw …, so I'll save my comments on that for later …

    – Nicole

  4. @3continentfamily – Thanks! That's so disappointing about Zwartboek. After seeing Alles and Komt een Vrouw I fell in love with Carice van Houten and bought Zwartboek. Haven't watched it yet though. We'll see.

    @Pinay in Dutchland – Thanks to you as well! You may want to check out Alles is Liefde. If you've already done some inburgering I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I'm not much of a tv watcher, so I've yet to catch any of the soaps. I may have to do that!

    @Nicole – Can't wait to take a look at your link. I agree with you mother. I did like Love Actually, but I thought Alles is Liefde was better though I can't put my finger on my. I am so intrigued to hear what you and your colleagues thought about Komt een Vrouw! I'll have to do my review stat so you can comment!

  5. wow..congrats! I have been watching Dutch news and short series but never really tried out a full fledged movie..I have heard a lot about komt een you never know!

  6. Congratulations! I am getting ready to start my inburgering so I'm excited to hear that they do this kind of thing to celebrate. I liked Alles is Liefde and De Tweeling. But after reading through the commentary I look forward to adding more to my list.

  7. Funny, I was thinking about recommending this movie for you to watch. As much as I dislike romantic comedies for the most part, I really enjoyed this one. It's a very witty script, with tons of inside jokes about Dutch culture.
    Other Dutch movies I can recommened:
    -everything by Alex van Warmerdam.
    -Alles stroomt
    -Flodder (classic)
    -Soldaat van Oranje (classic)
    -Turks fruit (classic)
    -Van god los
    -De aanslag
    -Schatjes (classic)
    -Ik ook van jou
    -op hoop van zegen (classic)

    Sometimes there are Dutch subtitles available on the DVD's, which is very handy when they speak with an accent or dialect.


  8. Thanks Joris! I'll totally have to check those others out! B and I just watched Oorlogswinter which I also really enjoyed! Good to know that you also liked Alles… maybe I can use that as leverage to get B to watch it with me! Good luck with the US move!!

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