Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 12/03/2021

THE COLUMNIST

We’ve all seen Internet trolls. Those people who comment on almost anything they can and show the worst of the human condition. When it builds to cyber-bullying it can become incredibly upsetting for those on the receiving end. This is what happens in Ivo van Aart’s The Columnist (De Kuthoer), an amusing but brutal tale of what happens when one woman can’t take anymore.

Why can’t we have opinions and be nice about it?” asks newspaper columnist Femke Boot (Katja Herbers) when she reads the latest bile aimed her way on Twitter. It’s even affecting her ability to write a novel she’s under contract for. Others can shrug it all off, particularly her lover, fellow author Steven Dood (Bram van der Kelen) who tells her “It’s just the Internet - it’s not real”. Well, it certainly gets real for these trolls as Femke dishes out some tough justice.

Daan Windhorst’s script keeps thing humorous while delivering a powerful message. While we don’t condone the actions of the lead character, there isn’t a one among us who wouldn’t punch the air at such actions - on screen only, naturally. The fact that she develops a zest for her writing following the murders adds another rye element. Femke’s daughter, Anna (Claire Porro), ironically is a fierce advocate of free speech - something her mother agrees with. But does that right only come when you’re not the subject of the remarks?

With remarkable performances from all involved, The Columnist is a Dutch treat well worth seeking out. If Hollywood tries to remake it, you will all be forgiven for the evil comments.

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