One of the best local films I’ve seen in months.

Starring: Donnalee Roberts and Ivan Botha

Plot: Childhood best friends, Nina and Hugo, shared many adventures. But today, those adventures are just painful memories and reminders of the past. At the age of 28 Hugo, a successful travel photographer, returns home to Paarl for the first time in 10 years. He arrives, to his surprise, the day before Nina, an aspiring author and owner of a bookshop, is about to get married. Unexpectedly, Hugo becomes part of Nina’s big day… and suddenly their lives are turned upside down again. Nina’s fairytale moment turns into a devastating storm when Retief, her fiance isn’t able to go through with his vows and leaves Nina alone and humiliated at the altar. For as long as Nina can remember she has been planning her special day, in shock and hysteria, she insists that the wedding reception goes ahead – with or without the groom. After too much champagne and a long night of partying, Nina and Hugo wake up on an airplane as the captain’s voice welcomes them to the tropical island of love – Mauritius. It is here where Hugo and Nina meet two couples – the Bothas, on a second honeymoon, which is actually an attempt to rescue what’s left of their marriage; and the Van Zyls, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Nothing could have prepared Hugo and Nina for the new adventure that lies ahead, and when they are forced to make the best of their ‘honeymoon’, they discover there is much more to Mauritius than white beaches and waterfalls. Day after day, painful memories resurface until all their hidden truths are revealed and a long-lost love can’t be denied anymore. However, Hugo and Nina’s fantasy comes to a sudden end when reality shows up without warning. Now, only Nina can decide what the future holds.

Remarks: Firstly, I need to commend our local filmmakers. The quality of local productions is incredible. Not only are films shot beautifully but the stories and the acting are of international standard. Vir Altyd is a beautiful film. Not only did the movie make me want to jump on the next flight to Mauritius, but it made me want to experience an intense love story of my own. Donnalee Roberts and Ivan Botha are the real stars of the film. Sure, they’re the lead actors and pulled off their characters fantastically, but they also wrote the story. The two have such chemistry together and it’s that chemistry that pulls at one’s heart strings and this has made them the golden couple of Afrikaans films. Speaking of heart-strings, Vir Altyd will make you feel a million different things. From love to hope, pity, heartache and sadness. It’s not often a film makes me this emotional and, for me, this is what entertainment is all about – making audiences feel something. Visually, the film is beautiful. The location is fantastic and scenes like the holi party to the Mauritian landscape really stand out on-screen. The movie was also shot beautifully and that elevated the experience of the viewer. All in all, the film is superb. I highly recommend watching this film this Valentines weekend. Even if, like me, Afrikaans isn’t your first language, the subtitles are there. Well done to everyone involved.

Rating: 4.5/5

Vir Altyd releases February 12th, 2016.

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