Elske Rotteveel

Elske Rotteveel

Screen Time: 100%
Role: Merel
Age: 12 years old





Rating: 7.4 (5 votes)
Directed: Mijke de Jong
Country: The Netherlands
Language: Dutch
Genre: Drama


A girl is being bullied by class-mates, and finds consolation in taking care of her disabled brother.

Movie Reviews

In most junior high classes, there is the scapegoat. You know, the kid who gets called names, has her backpack stolen, and gets beat up after school. In Bluebird, that girl is Merel (Elske Rotteveel). She's 12 years old, devoted to her handicapped little brother, Kasper (Kees Scholten), and she's smart and bookish, which is why the kids at school hate her. She takes the train to school everyday, reading Roald Dahl and, eventually, Anna Karenina, both out of a love for books, and in an attempt to escape her hostile world. Her bookishness ultimately endears her to a fellow passenger, who, after telling her that her name means "blackbird," calls her "Bluebird" instead, after the bluebird of happiness.

It's refreshing to see an honest portrayal of female adolescence. Not just the teasing aspect, but the all-encompassing self-consciousness girls tend to feel about their changing bodies. In one scene, Merel buys her first lipstick (in a shade that's too dark for her), and in another she gets her ears pierced. In yet another scene, she stuffs socks in her shirt to see what she would look like with breasts (hasn't every girl/woman does this at some point?). She also uses masking tape to flatten the ears that she thinks stick out too much. (One of the things she's teased about.)

Elske Rotteveel is the best thing about Bluebird. This is her first movie, and if there is any justice in the world, it won't be her last. She's silent for much of the film, but her face reveals how hurt and lonely she is. It's a magnificent performance. The other kids in the movie are great too, and the best part of all is they seem like real kids, as if the director went into a Rotterdam junior high and just filmed what he saw. Unfortunately, the ending feels like a copout, which keeps Bluebird, an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film, from being great.








Related Links