4 March 2006 | shanfloyd
An outstanding acting performance.
"Bluebird" is an extremely well-crafted Dutch movie which, though originally produced as a children's film, would be enjoyed by audience of any age. It features a 12-year-old schoolgirl, Merel (meaning 'blackbird'), who is a good student, a good swimmer, a caring older sister for her handicapped young brother and an avid reader of classic English novels. One day, suddenly, she found out that she's being bullied and later, physically beaten by certain classmates of her. But she didn't somehow complain or inform about this to her teacher or her parents. But her private life and her nature began to change.
From my description of Merel's character earlier, it may seem that she's a perfect child. But she's not. She does not have any good friends except a kindly man she met at the train. She is basically introvert. But she's not at all glum or mentally precocious. She is happy when she really likes it, at other times she's just silent. In this very difficult role in my opinion, debutant Elske Rottevéel gives a really outstanding performance. The camera is on her in practically every scene, showing her every emotion. And she never seemed uncomfortable or weak in her role. The occasional bits of Merel's subtle and controlled expressions of happiness are nicely portrayed by Rottevéel. I safely write that hers is one of the top five performances I've seen by a child actor. And mind you, she's not some 16-year-old playing 12.
The film ends with a quite predictable ending, which is good because I wouldn't like major plot twists in this kind of films. The filmmakers should be thanked once again for presenting us such a simple example where one doesn't need to exaggerate in any way to make a good film. And thanks to the film authorities of Netherlands to select this film to compete for the Academy Awards nomination, otherwise audiences like us from another continent wouldn't come to know about it.