Our review of An Island for a Change, a multilingual romantic comedy about second chances in love beyond cultural and linguistic boundaries.
The most assiduous and loyal Movieplayer readers will remember the article Romantic films: the 5 rules for successful love stories, a handbook on those narrative devices that make romantic films “almost always” work on the big and small screen. Let us mention two rules underpinning one of the Top 10 rom-coms on Netflix: “The forced proximity” and “Those who despise buy” and in this review of An island for changedirected by Vanessa Joop, we will demonstrate that it is precisely these two conditions that establish the level of satisfaction with this multilingual film about second chances in love, beyond cultural and linguistic boundaries.
We are in Germany and we meet Zeynep (Naomi Krauss), almost 50 years old of Turkish and Croatian origins, a very neglected and almost ignored wife and a mother taken far too much for granted. On the day of her mother’s funeral, she is left alone in her cemetery even by her restaurateur husband, too intent on flirting with the new cook to remember to go and support her in a moment of grief. The disappointment with Zeynep is so great that she functions as a detonator for change. The woman gets into her car and literally flees to an island in Croatia where her mother has bequeathed her a house. When she arrives at the place, she discovers that the house is already inhabited by a man who grew up there. Forced coexistence therefore for two characters who immediately strike sparks but who inevitably contrast with each other as script and life would like. Paradoxically, there was still a lot of room, in the world of the overcrowded romantic comedy, for a love story between two very different fifty-year-olds who give themselves a second chance or, perhaps, even the first real and genuine opportunity to be overwhelmed by the feeling they had not done in their youth. Pleasantly multilingual and little fictionalized, An island for change it is an unexpected breath of fresh air in the romantic panorama that Netflix, as well as the other platforms, had in the past reserved for adolescents, post-adolescents or at most 30-40 year olds.
A comedy without embellishments
Perhaps it will be due to the European-Mediterranean influence given by the mix of Germany/Turkey/Croatia or probably also due to the impossibility, in the sea of languages spoken by the film, to clean up culturally and politically correctma An island for change he gives words to his interpreters that are much more sincere than what we have been used to. In their clash of different cultures and beliefs, the naturalist and environmentalist Josip (Goran Bodgan) and the more overwhelmed, consumerist and formal Zeynep, do not escape a series of unkind comments that some more controlled films perhaps would not have allowed even in writing . Although said only to elicit a strong reaction in the woman, Josip scolds Zeynep, without embellishments or paraphrases, telling her that she is too old to be lured or to give in to the advances of a twenty-year-old. The result is a heated discussion, devoid of rhetoric, on gender inequalities. There is no trace of fake weighted bodies (see Renée Zellweger’s imaginary overweight in Bridget Jones’s Diary), aged or ugly. Naomi Krauss and Goran Bogdan are naturally imperfect, beautiful we might add, because they are very plausible, with bodies and faces that up to 10 years ago we would never have been able to see in the leading role in a film for the general public but only in independent international cinema .
Forced proximity and those who despise buy
As anticipated in the introduction to this review, An island for change responds to two unwritten rules that are among the most functional and effective for the success of a rom-com: forced closeness e Those who despise buy. Zeynep and Josip are forced to share a house or, to be more precise, the space around it, the boundless view of the sea and a town inevitably too small for both of them. Being able to constantly observe each other, study each other, in this case generates affection and feeds the fire of that fake hatred between the two which is actually, precisely, a mask of interest, attraction, chemistry . Vanessa Joop she is good at taking all the time she can to make this feeling between the two grind and to make them heat over low heat until an uncontainable boil. An island for change plays wisely by the rules and gets the desired result, including happy word of mouth among Netflix subscribers.
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There is always time to fall in love
It’s been just over a week since the emotional and rousing post-Oscar speech by Michelle Yeoh. The sixty-year-old actress with her “Women, don’t let anyone tell you that you are past your prime” he reiterated that there is no time limit to make your dreams come true. The protagonists of An island for change, above all Zeynep who decides to embrace her imperfections, her flaws, her 50 years, her sexuality and allow herself a healthy selfishness, the possibility of putting herself first after a life spent putting others at the center. And even the race towards Zeynep’s love brings with it some ailments like that very real pain in the spleen when you make a sudden physical effort and without any athletic training. A relief for the viewer who doesn’t hear filters, she recognizes herself and as in the best of romantic traditions, she dreams of love in every season of life.
We conclude this review of An island for change, confident that we have demonstrated that some solid rules not written in the screenplay combined with an “aging” operation and the truth about the protagonists, in this case fifty-year-olds eager for second chances, give a romantic comedy that it shows itself and gives solid emotions. The multilingual European appeal of this film and the sincerity of the faces and bodies of Naomi Kriss and Goran Bogdan do the rest of the work, justifying the audience’s approval on Netflix.
Because we like it
- He does not allow embellishments, sweetened dialogues and fake imperfections.
- Its protagonists are as imperfect as they are very real.
- It promotes the idea that there is no age to indulge in love and dreams.
- Although varied and decorated in a different way, the story of the film is obviously predictable.
- It prepares some situation bordering on the absurd.
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