‘Miss Minoes’ Cat-walks into Our Hearts

MissMinoes.jpgMiss Minoes has charmed audiences around the world, earning awards not just in its home of the Netherlands but at festivals as far-flung as the Artek International Children’s Festival in the Ukraine and the Chicago International Children’s Festival in the United States. Theatrically released in the U.S. last Christmas season, it is available on home video DVDs, Internet downloads and cable Video on Demand starting June 12. Ed Arentz, managing director of Music Box Films, which brought the film to the U.S., chats with KIDS FIRST! on our radio show Coming Attractions and shares more about the film in interview blog “‘Miss Minoes’ an Art-house Treasure for Kids,” posted separately from these reviews by KIDS FIRST! youth film critics Camille Bajema and Brianna Beaton.

“This film is a blend of fantasy and comedy that the whole family can watch together,” says Camille (age 10), noting that “there are so many funny parts.” The Dutch dialog of the original has been replaced with English dubbing, and Brianna (age 12) says the film is “easy to follow and enjoyable.” Brianna especially credits the acting of Carice van Houten, who, as the title character, “turns from a cat into a human and still has all her cat-like instincts.”

Miss Minoes
Reviewed by Camille Bajema
(See her full review on video.)

Miss Minoes was made in 2001 and filmed in The Netherlands. This film is a blend of fantasy and comedy that the whole family can watch together. I really enjoy this movie, based on the novel Minoes by Annie Schmidt and directed by Vincent Bal, because there are many cats in this film and I absolutely love cats. I also really like this film because there are so many funny parts, like when Miss Minoes is human but doesn’t know how to act like one.
 
This film is about a cat named Minoes (played by Carice van Houten) who gets turned into a human after drinking some chemicals from a deodorant factory. This part of the movie is a little confusing and hard to follow because they jump right into the story before the characters and plot have been developed. So make sure you pay close attention right at the beginning of the movie. Soon after [Minoes turns into a human], she meets a reporter named Tibbe (played by Theo Maassen), who writes for the local newspaper and is in desperate need of a good story in order to keep his job. Miss Minoes can talk to the neighborhood cats and helps Tibbe by organizing the cats to go out and find news, then bring it back, so she can tell Tibbe. He has lots of exciting stories to write about and becomes successful in his job. Throughout this film, Miss Minoes still acts like a cat though she’s a human from drinking the chemicals. Therefore, she still exhibits many feline behaviors such as nuzzling noses, sleeping in a box, climbing trees when she sees a dog, and climbing all over the rooftops at night. This is the funny part about her that makes you like her character.
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My favorite scene is when Miss Minoes teaches Bibi (played by Sarah Bannier), who is Tibbe’s landlord’s daughter, to climb up on the roof. I like this part because I think it would be fun and adventurous to climb up on rooftops and in and out of windows! The part I don’t like in this film is when the villain named Ellemeet (played by Pierre Bokma), the owner of the deodorant factory, is shooting a gun at the cats in his garden. There is also more violence when Ellemeet kicks a cat in an alley and hits a cat’s paw with a bottle. Don’t worry, none of the cats get hurt. Ellemeet is a really bad guy, but he pretends to be nice to everybody and the animals. The townspeople think he’s a model citizen, but he’s anything but that! This film was originally [filmed] in Dutch and then they dubbed the voices, which doesn’t look too good.
 
I recommend this movie for boys and girls ages seven through twelve because there is some violence and suspense that might frighten younger children and the storyline is a little hard to follow. I give this film four out of five stars.

Miss Minoes
Reviewed by Brianna Beaton
(See her full review on video.)

This is a very cute, entertaining and enjoyable film with lots and lots of cats.

I like this film because it has a little humor and creativity. I love how Miss Minoes (Carice van Houten) turns from a cat into a human and still has all her cat-like instincts. To me, this is a very challenging role to be able to switch back and forth like that throughout the film. I really start to enjoy this film when Miss Minoes becomes friends with the humans and [I] see how she is communicating and reacting to them. This is really cool. I like how most of the background music is upbeat and goes beautifully with the specific scenes.

Miss Minoes is a Siamese cat that is curious and gets herself changed into a young woman by drinking some dangerous chemicals. She dresses and talks like a young woman, but also eats and climbs trees like a cat. She finds and helps a shy journalist, Tibbe (Theo Maassen), prove to his town that they have a villain for a factory boss who is not to be trusted. She gets all the latest and greatest information from all her little cat friends and passes it to Tibbe. Another main character is Bibi (Sarah Bannier), who is Tibbe’s closest friend but also is a kid.

Vincent Bal directs Miss Minoes, which is an adaptation of the 1970 novel by Annie M.G. Schmidt that was released in the Netherlands in 2001. This film is dubbed in English, is easy to follow and enjoyable.

A couple of great messages in this film are to respect each other’s differences and to not judge a book by its cover, because Miss Minoes’ outside appearance is a woman but underneath she is truly a cat. BriannaBeaton.jpg
Miss Minoes is great for ages eight to twelve and mostly girls who love cats; they will definitely enjoy this film.

I give this film four out of five stars because, although it’s a great cat film, I just think it has a little too many cats for a dog lover like me.

Miss Minoes is overall a good film and I’m sure you will like it as well. So don’t forget to get your copy on DVD — and always listen to your felines.

Photos: Miss Minoes poster (top), Camille Bajema (middle), Brianna Beaton (bottom)

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