Love Is the Word (2013)

Original Title: Hemel op Aarde

Love Is the Word (2013)
Director: Pieter Kuijpers
Drama / Romance / Coming-of-Age / Period Piece / Religious Drama / Comedy (Subtle) / Family Drama / Social Commentary

Top Cast:

  • Huub Stapel
  • Filip Peeters
  • Ella-June Henrard
Audio: Dutch
Subtitles: English

In the ever-evolving landscape of cinema, there are those rare gems that touch upon crucial societal issues with grace and empathy. Deep End, a Canadian short film released in 2011, stands as one such example. Directed by Bretten Hannam, this thought-provoking and emotionally charged narrative explores the profound complexities of family, acceptance, and identity in the context of a young boy’s struggle to reconcile his brother’s coming out with his own deeply ingrained biases. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the storyline, characters, and the impact of Deep End, inviting you to embark on a cinematic journey that grapples with essential themes of love and understanding.

Love Is the Word Trailer

Plot Summary


The heart of Love is the Word revolves around Bart, a deeply religious young man portrayed by Bram van Schie. Bart is an altar boy in his local church, dedicated to pleasing God and those around him. However, his unwavering faith faces an unexpected challenge when a new family, the Verheijes, arrives in town. The Verheijes not only steer clear of church attendance but also embody temptation for Bart. The Verheije boy, approximately Bart’s age, initially appears to be the central character in the film, as the two boys delve into various escapades that tarnish Bart’s pristine image.


However, the story takes an intriguing twist as it unfolds. It becomes increasingly evident that the narrative focuses on Moniek, the older sister, played by Ella-June Henrard. Moniek, an attractive teenager, forms an inexplicable bond with Bart—a connection that transcends the barriers of faith and societal expectations. Their relationship encounters numerous challenges that create a compelling and emotional narrative arc, leaving audiences on the edge of their seats.


Themes and Interpretations


Love is the Word touches upon themes that may provoke deep introspection among viewers. The movie can be perceived as a commentary on organized religion, depicting the Catholics within the film as either legalistic individuals or individuals who ultimately lose faith, revealing the hypocrisy within their community. In contrast, the atheists in the film emerge as more relatable and likable characters. Alternatively, the movie could be seen as a critique of religion devoid of love, one that becomes submerged in rigid rules and dogma.


However, irrespective of one’s interpretation of the film’s themes, it remains an exceptionally well-crafted cinematic experience. The acting, notably by the young cast members, stands out as remarkably strong—a rarity in films featuring child and teen actors. The direction and script demonstrate finesse and depth, contributing to the film’s overall quality. Special acknowledgment must be given to the makeup artists, whose work in transforming Moniek’s character is truly commendable and adds authenticity to her portrayal.


Overcoming Language Barriers


One potential obstacle for viewers is the language barrier, as Love is the Word is a subtitled film. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that there’s a treasure trove of exceptional films in various languages waiting to be discovered. Dismissing a film solely due to its language can result in missing out on remarkable cinematic experiences. Love is the Word’s universal themes of love, faith, and the turbulence of youth transcend language, making it a compelling watch for a global audience.


Love is the Word (Hemel op Aarde) is a cinematic gem that beautifully captures the essence of the late 1970s while delving into the complexities of faith, love, and youth. Pieter Kuijpers’ direction, coupled with strong performances and thought-provoking themes, makes it a must-watch for cinephiles. Don’t let language barriers deter you from experiencing this heartfelt journey. You can watch Love is the Word online and embark on a nostalgic trip back to the late ’70s, a time when first love and faith were tested in the most unexpected ways.

Love Is the Word Scenes

Love Is the Word (2013)
Love Is the Word (2013)
Love Is the Word (2013)
Love Is the Word (2013)

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