Sunday, January 6, 2013

Miss Minoes (live action movie), via Netflix

Miss Minoes is a Dutch comedy/fantasy based on a children's novel by Annie M.G. Schmidt. I learned about it via Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Synopsis:

Tibbe is a shy reporter who's been given an ultimatum by his boss - either turn in an article containing actual news tomorrow, or get a new job. Luckily for Tibbe, he meets Miss Minoes, a cat who has transformed into a young woman who retains various feline behaviors, like a desire to play with dangling things and eat mice. Miss Minoes collects news from the various neighborhood cats and reports it to Tibbe in return for fish and a place to stay. It's a good arrangement for the both of them, until Miss Minoes begins reporting things Tibbe can't quite bring himself to believe: that Ellemeet, the town's benefactor and president of the Pet Lover's Society, knocked over a fish stand, is abusive towards cats, and may be doing other nefarious things.

Eventually, though, Tibbe starts to believe what Miss Minoes has been telling him. Getting the rest of the town to believe him is another matter entirely, but Miss Minoes, the other cats, and Bibi, a young girl who likes to visit Tibbe and Miss Minoes, have an idea.

Review:

SB Sarah liked this a bit more than I did, which is not to say I thought it was a bad movie. It had a “children's movie” simplicity to it that didn't always sit well with my adult brain, but Miss Minoes was charming enough that I still enjoyed the movie overall.

Theo Maassen was appealing as Tibbe, the shy journalist who had trouble finding “real” news to write about. He looked like the sort of guy who could be scary in another role, but in this movie he came across as more of a gentle giant, good with kids and cats.

Tibbe's attitude about possibly losing his job was one of the first things that made me think I might be too much of an adult to fully enjoy this movie, however. Whereas my thoughts immediately went to things like “How will he pay his bills?” and “How hard will it be for him to find another job?”, Tibbe seemed to live more in the now. He was bummed at the thought that he might not be cut out for journalism, but he never once wondered about practical stuff, like what he would do if he couldn't manage to find real news to report before the next day.

I had quite a few more moments during the movie when my adult brain intruded (the villain might as well have come straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon, and he turned out to be pathetically easy to discredit), but my enjoyment of Miss Minoes carried me through. Carice van Houten was fabulous as a cat-turned-woman, and she made me wish I could have watched the movie in the original Dutch (Netflix had it dubbed in English). The English dubbing was nice, but van Houten did such a marvelous job of portraying feline behavior/body language (in heels, no less!) that I would have liked to hear her voice for the full effect. Also, although I know other reviewers have already said this, I must say it again: her green coat is awesome.

The movie ends with romance between Tibbe and Miss Minoes. Although I could see it coming, I found myself wishing it had ended some other way – I couldn't help but think “Wait, isn't she still basically a cat, though?” Those who are better at telling their brains to shut up and stop asking questions will probably enjoy this movie's charms more than I did.

Other reviewers have already mentioned this, but, just in case mine is the only review you read, I figured I should mention it again: In case you're planning on watching this movie with your kids, be aware that there are a couple instances of swearing and off-screen cruelty to cats. There's at least one scene that briefly lets viewers believe the cat might have been killed, but viewers are later reassured that this was not the case.

Watch-alikes and Read-alikes:
  • Amelie (live action movie) - Those who'd like another foreign film starring an appealing heroine might want to give this a try, although be warned that it is not a children's movie. Amelie is a shy, naive, and quirky young woman with a strong sense of justice, who decides to help those around her in her own way.
  • 13 Going on 30 (live action movie) - Something about Tibbe and Miss Minoes made me think of Jennifer Garner in this movie, in which she plays a 13-year old girl who finds herself suddenly transported into her future 30-year-old body.
  • Chi's Sweet Home (manga) by Konami Kanata; Chi's Sweet Home (anime TV series) - Cat lovers who'd like another light, family-friendly, cat lover-friendly story might want to give this a try. Chi's Sweet Home does a fantastic job of portraying the daily life of a kitten adopted by a small family. I've written about the first volume of the manga and the second TV series.
  • That Darn Cat (live action movie) - Those who'd like another family-friendly movie involving cats and a bit of sleuthing might want to give this a try.

2 comments:

  1. I have not thought about THAT DARN CAT! in years! I remember being excited it was coming out (that is how old I am!). I loved anything with Halley Mills. I even read the novel UNDERCOVER CAT, but this one time I found the movie to be more entertaining.

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    Replies
    1. To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen That Darn Cat - it just popped up a couple times when I was looking for watch-alikes, and I thought it sounded appropriate when I read a little more about it. I'm a sucker for movies with cats in them (which was part of the reason why I watched Miss Minoes), so I could see myself giving it a try if I ever came across it.

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