Mainstream movies come with a lot of hype and the expectations are set even before watching the movies. Even if we know nothing about the movies, we tend to recognize the actors. That kind of sets the expectations based on the actors’ larger than life star image. The stories often end up being pushed backstage. On the other hand when you just stumble into a movie, you have never heard of with actors you have never seen before, the stories and acting come front stage.
I had a similar experience yesterday, when browsing through the TV channels landed up on this Dutch movie called ‘Miss Minoes’ with English sub titles. And I must say I really enjoyed every bit of it. The genre was of course my favorite – children’s fantasy. The premise is simple and executed with perfection. The story is about a cat that gets transformed into a woman. However she can still talk cat language and has the mannerisms of a cat. She talks to all the cats in the city and picks up gossips and passes on to the local reporter. The rest of the story deals with how Minoes the cat tries to fit it into the world of humans and the evolution of Minoes’ relationship with the reporter and his landlord’s little daughter. The corrupt factory owner who is pretending to be an animal lover and the town’s benefactor brings the conflict element in the plot.
The most striking feature of the movie is the performance of the lead actress Carice Van Houten. Every time she is on the screen, the viewer feels he is in the presence of a cat. She has really got into the role, nuzzling, scratching and rubbing noses like a cat. We have actresses in our country that can’t even play the parts of human characters properly and here is a Dutch actress who can carry off the part of an animal with grace and aplomb!
The other thing I liked about the movie was the way the director has maintained simplicity throughout the story. The characters, their motives, the plot – everything is kept to the simplest possible. No one dramatizes or overacts. The viewer is just drawn into the simple life of a quaint Dutch village. The simplicity comes out as a breath of fresh air.
One interesting line I liked in the movie is when the heroine tells the hero that she is full of contradictions being a human and a cat at the same time. The hero replies back that normal humans are also full of contradictions. How true! And then towards the end of a movie the heroine develops compunctions about eating a live bird. Her sister, a cat admonishes her pointing out the hypocrisy of humans who savor chicken but feel revulsion at the idea of cats eating live birds.
Overall it is a short and sweet family entertainer worth watching for an hour and a half of fun.