An Emotional Drama
Eliane Hess (Eleni Haupt, director Stefan Haupt’s wife) is a psychologist who receives an urgent late night call summoning her to a hospital where a young boy has been taken after a car crash. It is her sad job to tell him that his entire family perished in the crash and that he is the only survivor.
Yves (Noe Ricklin) is in a fragile emotional state and it doesn’t help matters that his paternal grandmother (Suly Rothlisberger) and maternal aunt (Alice Flotron) are engaged in a bitter tug-of-war for custody for the young boy. It becomes Eliane’s task to determine the boy’s emotional state and recommend the best fit for the boy’s needs in the custody battle. Yves is allowed to go live with Eliane and her teenage daughters Helen (Alica Pluss), the stable one and Alice (Chiara Carla Bar), an angry teen with whom Eliane has been dealing with her destructive behaviors.
Helen takes to the boy immediately and becomes something of a big sister to him while Alice vocally wonders aloud how long they have to put up with his invasion of their home. But then, she gives him a stuffed animal (a lynx) to comfort him, indicating that maybe she’s not so bad after all. The presence of Yves brings long-simmering angst to the surface, mainly having to do with their fathers and why Eliane is no longer with them. In the meantime, Yves has a terrible secret that is tearing him apart.
This is essentially a family drama with psychological overtones which is a whole lot less sexy but no less intriguing for true film buffs. The cast is solid and smart. Eleni Haupt shows that her cool and objective professional demeanor is a ruse hiding a deeply fragile psyche of her own that threatens to collapse because of failed relationships and loneliness. The movie revolves around the relationship between the girls and Yves, and Ricklin who plays the boy is excellent. He is right in the center of the film and gives a performance that is one of the deepest and most satisfying portrayals of a troubled child that I have ever seen.
Director Haupt uses a lot of religious art in the background but the movie isn’t a sermon; there just are subtle hints of a higher power. If you can put preconceptions aside that the title might bring, you will find this movie to be a fascinating look at family dynamics and the effects of absence. But, the pace is very slow and “Dark Fortune” is long. Those who are willing to give it a chance may find unexpected rewards here. All of us have our own secret hurts and this is a movie that bringis those dark fortunes to the fore.
“Dark Fortune” is truly dramatic, the storyline is excellently written and finely. In several parts of the film, some rather creepiness is brought to the pictures, but still kept in the shadows for some reason. The film follows a woman and her two older daughters as they figure out what happened to this young boy and help him through such a traumatic time. Along with the boys trauma, the two daughters have hidden feelings that are brought to light during this time.
I really enjoyed watching this movie, I liked the story and the actresses chosen in their roles. Each moment that something serious happened, I could feel the true feelings of these actresses. I enjoyed watching each character grow into themselves as the film progresses to the end and the realization that Yves has during the short time after his family’s death.