Picks and Pans Review: Antonia's Line
Morbid and overwrought, this multi-generational Dutch Academy Award nominee about a family of women in a small country village could well have been called Steel Tulips.
The stolid van Ammelrooy plays the matriarch Antonia, who wakes up one morning with the notion she is going to die that day. The thought sends her into a paroxysm of flashbacks, beginning with her return to the village shortly after World War II. Thus we see her—as a young woman with little use for men, who later enlists a stranger to father her daughter's child.
The daughter is played by Dottermans, an evocative actress who ages convincingly from teenager to 60ish grandmother. Dottermans bears a daughter, Van Overloop, who becomes such a mathematical prodigy that as van Ammelrooy lays dying, Van Overloop speculates about the exact volume of the stricken woman's last breath.
That mild irony is about the only flash of humor. Otherwise, the whole affair tends too much to the macabre, with one murder, one graphic suicide and far too many direct attacks on men's crotches. (Not rated)