Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Sex is like eating a sandwich," Heleen's mother says.

What's that supposed to mean? Fifteen-year-old Heleen is confused, ignorant, inquisitive and scared of it. When they taunt her at school and call her "lesbo" because her friend kissed her on the mouth once and it almost went too far, she makes sure that she is seen snogging a boy in public.

Copy picture

Deep is an interesting title. Does it refer to being out of your depth? Life as a teenager is so hard, especially for a girl whose parents have just split up. Heleen is torn in so many directions and there is no one to guide her. Her mother shacks up with an old guy with a pot belly. Her dad has a new woman, who is well turned out and tries so hard to do the right thing. Heleen hates that. She hates the whole messy business.

A boy called Stan (Stijn Koomen) says he loves her when all he wants is what all teenage boys want. Heleen is intrigued by Stan's English friend (Damien Hope) who says, "Sex is a voyage to the sublime," although not interested himself, because he's so doped up. Heleen will lose her virginity to Stan. It is arranged for New Year's Eve. And yet she doesn't love him.

This is Simone van Dusseldorp's first film and she is courageous in her use of close ups, as if trying to inhabit the emotional heart of this strong-willed girl, sensitively played by Melody Klaver. She succeeds in touching the mercurial character of teenage experience in a way that is rarely seen. In addition, the dysfunctional home life, which appears on the surface to be holding, leaves shards in Heleen's belief structure.

Sex appears to dominate, whether to do it, or not to do it. Heleen feels afraid and annoyed at the same time. She wants to get it over with so that life can begin. There is no expectation, only a pragmatic understanding that boys need to get off on girls and if they don't, they're no fun to be with.

"Love is a waste of time," Heleen says.

"No, sex is a waste of time," Stan's English friend says.

Since no one knows what it's about, everyone is swimming in uncharted waters and Heleen is not the only one who is out of her depth.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
Share this with others on...
A teenage girl swims in the choppy waters of sexuality, out of her depth and determined not to drown.

Director: Simone van Dusseldorp

Writer: Tamara Bos

Starring: Melody Klaver, Monic Hendrikx, Bart Klever, Joriik Scholten, Stijn Koomen, Damien Hope

Year: 2005

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: The Netherlands


EIFF 2006

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Tiny Death
Water Lilies