“Papa’s Song” is a touching film from Holland that almost falls apart in the third act. The film revolves around two Curacao sisters and their bittersweet relationship. Shirley is happily married to Nico (Victor Bottenbley), a Dutch judge, and Magda (Romana Vrede) is a popular singer married to Hugo (Tyronne Meerzorg), a member in her band. Magda’s two children have been under the care of Shirley and Nico while Magda gets her band and relationship back in order. Shirley is unable to part with her two nephews partly because she feels Magda’s lifestyle will badly influence the boys, and partly because she’s unable to have children of her own. After arguing over the children’s future, Shirley and Magda come to a peculiar decision. Magda will carry a baby for Shirley. Despite his objections, Nico reluctantly agrees to go along with the idea. All is well until Hugo appears at the doorstep threatening to leave Magda and take full custody of the children if she goes through with the pregnancy. The clash between the two couples culminates allowing for memories of the two sister’s dark family secrets to come out into the open.
“Papa’s Song” makes almost no missteps during the first half of the film. The characters are all well-rounded, and strongly performed. The two sisters roles are superbly written and always seem to be holding out on a small bit of information that is guarded until the end. This works quite well and holds the attention of the viewer and also adds a bit of mystery to the already engaging plot. Unfortunately, when we finally find out what the shrouded mystery is all about, it becomes a little hard to swallow. Not only does the climax come out of left field, but it also includes a dubious character change on the part of Shirley, that I never bought. The film is worth seeing for the performances, but I felt disappointed and was left empty with the plot’s resolution.