27 February 2017 | JvH48
Interesting premise, thought provoking on practical issues. It makes you think what your "identity" really entails, when you can get rid of it and trade for a new one
Saw this at the Leiden International Film Festival (LIFF) in 2016. After all, the story developed much better than expected. Initially, after half an hour running time, I was asking myself whether the story was going anywhere. Birthday parties can be watched in many different movies, and it seemed to be the center stage of this story. After having done with all the "How are you?? OK" exchanges, something should happen there, a turning point after which the story was expected to take off. Some extra patience was needed, however.
It all went in a completely different direction after another 10 minutes. I must say that it went very well from that moment on, thought provoking even. How tempted one can be to break completely with the past, assuming a different identity, leaving all family members and friends behind without telling them about your whereabouts, even not telling them that you still live. And Alice has done just that several times, and she was prepared to repeat it at this very moment.
That being said, the ending did not satisfy me completely. It left me with many questions about practical things, like passports and credit cards, and how to earn a living without a solid background and without a proved education. But maybe I'm nitpicking now on details. The main idea deserves far better ratings than the ones I saw on IMDb and such. I'm glad that the IMDb User Reviews are controversial, ranging from very low to very high, proving that the movie touched a nerve and that it was not easy to let it go afterwards.
Homework for the reader/viewer: Was Alice's re-connecting with Tom a cry for help, an attempt to fall back on someone she expected to really know her, independent of the many identities she assumed in the meantime?? She took some trouble to indirectly re-connect, while a direct approach could have worked too, so why this convoluted way to meet him again??
All in all, good casting and acting, and the rest is mostly left as an exercise for the viewer. Would you ever have wanted to start with a proverbial clean slate?? And would you have taken for granted that you lose all friends and relatives in the process, since only a clear cut will work out as desired. Let alone the practical and down-to-earth problems, like having no verifiable CV and no proof of the schools you attended. And what about opening a bank account or applying for a credit card?? The devil is in the details with such an undertaking. Don't expect that this movie will teach you how it is done, however, as it will only leave you with open questions. Nevertheless, an interesting premise. The slow start is a negative point, as explained above, and it will drive away many home viewers who don't want to wait 40 minutes for a clear plot to emerge.