Meet the Fokkens
Rating: Two and a half stars
Yes, that’s really the last name of Louise and Martine, the identical twin Dutch prostitutes, now 69 (hold the jokes), who cheerfully reflect on their 50 years working in Amsterdam’s red-light district. As enjoyable as it can be, at least for awhile, following these endearing, apparently inseparable elderly sisters as they irreverently reminisce about servicing clergymen and other surprising clientele as they wander through the neighbourhood, the nostalgia begins to wear thin and the film’s superficiality becomes more apparent. Its initially lighthearted tone, including sunbathing interludes at the beach and an amusing vignette in which the chubby, colourfully attired sisters shop for sex toys, begins to clash with the grimmer reality of the business that begins to surface. It’s illustrated in some explicit sex scenes — prudes be warned — in which Martine, a dominatrix, proves she’s still got it as she sings The Wheels on the Bus while laboriously trying to arouse a flaccid client. And while we learn that Louise, whose arthritis prompted her to retire, was beaten into prostitution by an abusive husband, the film really doesn’t give enough screen time to the darker side of the business that is glossed over. As appealing as these resilient, motor-mouthed sisters are, you begin to wish for fewer anecdotes and more depth about why they remained in the world’s oldest profession for as long as they have.