Simon

Dutch filmmaker Eddy Terstall's comedy about voluntary euthanasia, which was Holland's official submission for best-foreign-film consideration in 2004, pulls off the high-wire act of being simultaneously genuinely funny and uncompromisingly serious in its examination of one terminally ill man's decision to choose the manner and time of his death and the...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
Rating:

Dutch filmmaker Eddy Terstall's comedy about voluntary euthanasia, which was Holland's official submission for best-foreign-film consideration in 2004, pulls off the high-wire act of being simultaneously genuinely funny and uncompromisingly serious in its examination of one terminally ill man's decision to choose the manner and time of his death and the ripples that decision sends into his circle of friends. The story begins in 2002, as conservative, gay, middle-aged dentist Camiel Vrolijk (Marcel Hensema) is nearly run down by a reckless driver who turns out to be Simon Cohen (Cees Geel), whom he hasn't seen since 1988. Camiel fills in his partner, real-estate broker Bram (Dirk Zeelenberg), on his intense, tumultuous relationship with Simon, then a brashly heterosexual party animal who loved to travel, had two small children with a girlfriend in Thailand, owned a hash bar and dealt drugs illegally on the side, loved animals, and was the center of a group of equally adventurous friends, notably the tough, beautiful Sharon (Rifka Lodeizen). Simon helped draw Camiel out of his shell, but their relationship soured after a trip to Thailand where, one drunken night, Sharon seduced Camiel in retaliation for Simon's infidelities. Now, 14 years later, Simon lives with his children, Joy (Nadja Hupscher) and Nelson (Stijn Koomen), whom he brought to Holland after their mother's death; Sharon is married to another man and has a child; and the old crowd, including Ellen (Eva Duijvestein) — who lost an eye under lewd circumstances Simon loved to recount — and rabble-rouser Marco (Daan Ekkel), who once tried to staple his tattoos back in place during a drug trip, is gathering around Simon, who has incurable brain cancer. Camiel joins them, hauling Bram along for the bumpy ride. A celebration of the rude, messy, complicated nature of friendship, Terstall's film dares to build a tearjerker around a crass, boisterous jackass. But Simon is the kind of jackass everybody forgives, because he's also fun, generous, and utterly, irredeemably, what he is — you can take him or leave him, and if you take him, you have to take the whole package. Sharply acted and cheerfully coarse, the film builds to a three-hankie ending rescued from maudlin sentimentality by the fact that Simon faces death with the same implacable, uncouth forthrightness he brought to everything else he ever did. (In subtitled Dutch and English.)

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Dutch filmmaker Eddy Terstall's comedy about voluntary euthanasia, which was Holland's official submission for best-foreign-film consideration in 2004, pulls off the high-wire act of being simultaneously genuinely funny and uncompromisingly serious in its… (more)

Show More »