The Misfortunates (DutchDe helaasheid der dingen) is a 2009 Belgian comedy-drama film directed by Felix Van Groeningen. It is adapted from the book "De Helaasheid der Dingen" by Belgian writer Dimitri Verhulst. The film stars Koen De Graeve, Johan Heldenbergh, Wouter Hendrickx, Bert Haelvoet, Valentijn Dhaenens, Kenneth Vanbaeden and Gilda De Bal.


 [hide*1 Plot


Writer Gunther Strobbe made his ladyfriend pregnant and looks back at this youth. He lived together with his father, grandmother and uncles in a house in the fictitious town of Reetveerdegem. Much of his youth was about drinking, cigarettes, women, and truancy. Heavier themes include addiction, criminality, and death.

Critical reception[edit]Edit

LA Weekly found Van Groeningen mixing "the visual exuberance of 'Trainspotting' with the familial pathos of 'Angela’s Ashes'",[1] whilst Variety described the film as starting out as an "extremely lowbrow comedy" but later "morphing into a bittersweet meditation on whether familial love and pride are enough to sustain a proper upbringing."[2]


The film won the Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes Film Festival's Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.[3] It also won three Golden Starfish Awards at the 17th Hamptons International Film Festival.[4]The film was the official Belgian entry for the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010 in the category Best Foreign Language Film.

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