It’s rare you see a newcomer with such star power but then there’s The Best of Dorien B.
Kim Snauwaert has no other filmic credits to her name yet those seeing her for the first time as Dorien, front, centre and resplendent throughout, could easily be forgiven for thinking this was yet another project from a national fixture.
The latest via Belgian Director Anke Blonde, Dorien’s life quickly unravels in the space of days as upheavals recur within her veterinary practice, between her parents and indeed Dorien and her husband, who only recently had an affair with a woman he still works with. Beyond all this, Dorien is navigating some very difficult news about her health.
A comedy drama much heavier on the comedy by virtue of the emphasis and talent of its lead, an animal memorably escaping from Dorien’s grounds in a less than desirable manner is but one of the variegated laugh out loud moments. Interspersed with lighter guffaws and that more searing, newcomer Snauwaert, to her enormous credit, convincingly carries us and her character from instances of understandable despair to sometimes near immediate cathartic reprieves or dark humour.
Ever-empathetic as challenges pile up, the resilience Dorien shows is endearing as much as it is the catalyst for that humorous which drolly sets itself above and beyond the many mirthful moments. Two notable, wordless encounters dripping with consequence and set to of all things Taekwando are among the best in the film. Scrapping what could traditionally have been significant if obvious dialogue, the characters’ rollicking actions here convey everything we need to know in some of this feature’s most emotional and laugh-inducing vignettes.
Blonde opts to centre the camera for many frames at a time on intimate and invasive medical procedures as regards both humans and our wilder, hairier counterparts on this planet. The unusual, rewarding choice consummately highlights that universal to experiences; yet again achieving that intended by the filmmakers in a roundly unexpected, innovative manner.
Best above all for Snauwaert’s presence, here’s hoping there’ll soon be a lot more credits to her name.