Sweet & Sublime. (Small minds need not apply.)
C. ANZIULEWICZ | Spring Hill, WV USA | 08/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of those exquisite films that too many people will overlook because (1) it's a foreign film with English subtitles, and (2) the title and packaging make it look too esoteric. Personally I probably wouldn't have even seen this movie had I not come across it in our local library's nascent DVD collection, from which I was able to check it out for free. I'm so glad I did. "Antonia's Line" was one of the most sweet yet cerebral films I've seen in a long time. It's a 40-odd year "slice o' life" revolving around Antonia, a woman who returns to her little Dutch village, daughter in tow, after the end of World War II. As the years go by, Antonia gathers together a slowly growing extended family that includes some very colorful characters. There are moments of humor, surrealism, and sweet love ... but also moments of ugliness and sadness. Gay audiences will enjoy the matter-of-fact portrayal of a Lesbian couple, and feminists will enjoy the supreme strength of character of Antonia herself. Social conservatives would be advised to look elsewhere; they simply won't understand. When this little film simply ENDED in the way it must, I cried and cried. "Antonia's Line" is a very sweet, sublime film about the cycles of life. It's somewhat slow going at first, but the payoff is rich indeed."
A Delight to Watch
BeachReader | Delaware | 07/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Antonia and her daughter return to their Dutch village after World War II to bury Antonia's mother. The first hint that this is an unconventionial movie is when the corpse sits up and belts out "My Blue Heaven". This movie combines magical realism in a plot of seriousness and intent. Characters with names like Loony Lips, Crooked Finger, and Mad Madonna come and go over the course of the next 50 years as Antonia's extended family grows. After all, this is the story of Antonia's line, or lineage, and an exploration of the mysteries of life and of death.This is a film in which males are relegated to second-citizen status because the women are just so darn capable and able to mostly get along without men. They do not define themselves through men nor do they depend on them. The film perfectly captures the extraordinary spirit and the strength of the mother-daughter bond. The women of Antonia's line are strong and loving, good and kind, strong yet gentle. The acting in this film is wonderful....it is a movie I hated to see end."
Race, gender, and the role of motherhood
Jessica Benson | New York | 05/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Antonia's line is an amazing film about four generations of strong, independent women. While most movies about single mothers stereotype them in both positive and negative ways, Antonia's Line is different. Antonia moves back to the dutch countryside after being away for twenty years. She has to face many difficulties in the town, yet through it all she is a pillar of strength. She knows what she wants, and she acts upon it, regardless of what people think of her. She passes on these same views to her daughter. Antonia's line seems to critique the normal stereotypes by portraying Antonia as a foil to them. Her honesty, and disregard for public opinion sets her apart. The film also works to intersect Antonia's race, culture, gender and class in an amazing web that shapes her character. The influence of Antonia's race is clear in the way that she acts around the people of the town. She explains to her daughter who each person is, and why they act the way that they do. She knows how to handle even the most obnoxious of the town memebers. She is every bit a women, yet she exhaults in her femininity rather than hiding behind it. She makes her opinions and ideas well known. She is not afraid of the judgement that may accompany her views. She entertains suitors, while maintaining an honest attitude about exactly what she wants. She is able to accept her family for who they are without exception. Antonia's Line is a wonderful story with fully developed characters. Antonia and her family portray the true essence of femininity better than any other characters I have seen. Do not let the subtitles stop you. This film is a must see."