Sonskyn Beperk

2016-03-11 13:49

What it's about:

Anya du Plessis leaves her boyfriend in New York to reconnect with her estranged father back in South Africa, who believes his new beer brewing hobby is the answer to their financial crisis. When a charming young man enters the fray in search of a winning beer recipe, it seems Anya's the only thing between him and craft beer glory.

What we thought:

It took a while, but thankfully good Afrikaans films are finally starting to outweigh the really terrible ones, and Sonskyn Beperk falls in the former category.

Although it’s not the best Afrikaans rom-com I’ve ever seen, it did not make me want to run out of the cinema in embarrassment and it delivered a strong concept with just a couple of awkward moments that is not too irritating.

A daughter (Anelle Bester) returns from working in the USA to her family farm in South Africa, attempting to repair the damage done to her relationship with her father (Andre Roothman) after her mother’s death. She soon finds out he might be losing the farm, and his wild scheme to start a craft beer brewery attracts the attention of a charming swindler (Neels van Jaarsveld) looking to steal the recipe of a winning beer. Romance ensues.

Bester and Van Jaarsveld played well on each other’s strengths and covered each other’s flaws, creating a chemistry that kept the story alive. Unfortunately, where there was a visible supressed passion between them, Bester’s other love interest – an American who follows her home trying to get her back to the good ol’ USA – was a rigid boring fart and played the wooden business-type too well. It didn’t make it that difficult for the audience to guess who she’ll end up with in the end.

The story would have been much more enticing if she also had a intense passionate chemistry with him as well, making the choice between the two harder (although love is not what makes her stay on). However, Van Jaarsveld excelled at playing the jealous suitor, making for a hilarious montage of him following them around as they go sightseeing. Van Jaarsveld has had some questionable role choices in the past, but after this I believe he only needs a strong directing hand, and Maynard Kraak pulled out of him his best performance.

The rest of the cast was also solid, with a few stereotypical personas that could be offensive, and one character in particular made me happy whenever he left the screen. Although played by renowned actor Peter Butler, who is outstanding on stage, he was very much misplaced in the role of Calvert, the father’s best friend. Everything he said was over the top as if he wanted to be the center of attention in every scene, and didn’t seem to suit the character in the slightest. Thankfully his screen-time was minimal, but enough to really annoy anyone’s common sense. 

Although the movie follows your typical romantic tropes, the setting was a refreshing one that links well with the current trends in South Africa. Craft beer has exploded onto the scene, with many microbreweries trying to make it on the ever-expanding scene, and many farms have jumped onto the bandwagon. It’s completely plausible for a struggling farmer to see this market as his way out, and this modern setting gave a lot of credence to the context of the swindler, coming from a corporate brewery trying to muscle their way into the microbrewery scene. Also, this film shows how good product placement can work to the advantage of the film, showcasing all our favourite real life craft brands and brewmasters like CBC’s Wolfgang Koedel, and showing off Woodstock Brewery’s new home.

A thoroughly entertaining movie with a healthy dose of beer brewing and flirting, Sonskyn Beperk is one of the good ones, and we can give the Afrikaans filmmaking community a round of applause for the continuous improvement in its quality of films. 

Read more on:    neels van jaarsveld  |  movies

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