Review: Hoofmeisie



Hoofmeisie Poster



Director: Morne du Toit

Cast: Lida Botha, Mish’a el de Beer and Karen Fourie

Running time: 97 minutes

Release date: 23 December 2011

Age restriction: PG V




This is the review I have been dreading for the past month. As one of the few Jo’burgers that attended the preview screening, the likelyhood of alternatives to my review look slim, now this wouldn’t be a problem if this movie were good…unfortunately Hoofmeisie is possibly one of the worst films I’ve seen in a very long time let alone 2011.

Due to Hoofmeisie originating from South Africa, it was suggested that I offer a more lenient viewpoint. I’ve taken this point into consideration but came to reject it on the principle that a film, no matter its origin will be judged equally and Hoofmeisie is no exception.

Hoofmeisie (or head girl aka class president in the US) is a local South African film. At Stumbopops primary school, the battle for the position of head girl is a war waged between four girls and their overbearing mothers. A bully, a nerd, a beauty queen, and an orphan…an orphan? Apparantly in this film, being an orphan seems to be something of a social pariah, well Nadia is such a character, modest and meek and incidently, the main focus of the movie. Unknowingly thrust into the fray, Nadia must compete against her classmates for the coveted position of authority.

Hoofmeisie screen

This film actually marks the first time this year that I wished that I wasn’t in the screening hall at the time. As much as I despised watching Breaking Dawn and Apollo 18, I never desired to leave out of sheer insurmountable boredom – the mental agony in this journey however drove me to checking my email during the film (a first for me). Firstly, Hoofmeisie’s grossly abrasive use of product placement may earn itself a place in some record book. The film in its entirety seems to have inadvertantly presented itself as shameless commercial ploy as an advert for candy, case in point being the title of the school itself. At first I thought that New Year’s Eve was the pinacle of product placement but at least it was somewhat subliminal. The message I get from Hoofmeisie is something like “We couldn’t get the funding to make this garbage so we had to get a sponsor and put it’s name everywhere we could”…one can only speculate.

But commercialism aside Hoofmeisie is genuinely a tasteless film of the lowest common denominator. The film is a chore to watch and seems more like a compilation of unimaginative gags incompetently assembled into what barely makes up a story. The plot is near indecipherable with the filmmakers delving into what one can only imagine to be non-linear storytelling at it’s utmost worst and ineffective. Were the film straight forward it may have been tolerable but the muddled architecture makes the film grating and traumatic to the senses.


Whatever attempts at humour it makes fall flat as do the actors portraying their bare-boned, stereotypical characters. Each an every character in this film is unbearably cliche with each performance worse than the next (and some the politically incorrect). Particularly of note are the mother figures, I can understand if the children are reduced to poor experience-based character archetypes but the adult performances are of sub-soap opera grade.

By the end of the movie, Hoofmeisie can only be described as bad pantomime. The entire product is made from a recipe of badness that should have been left on the cutting room floor. The concoction has everything: monotonous pacing, an absurdly convoluted plot, and forgettable characters, not to mention the embarrassing candy coated commercial covering. Hoofmeisie fails on virtually every level, but it gets a mark for putting it’s name on the cover sheet.



If you watch this, don’t be afraid to let me know what you think.

  • Lyn

    I think you an idiot. It was released in SA today to rave reviews. Leon van Nierop one of SA greatest and harshest critics gave it 4 stars

    • Joel Kanar

      I think it’s unfair to call me an idiot simply because I have a point of view. I respect Mr. van Nierop’s opinion as I do every other critic but the fact is that one person’s view is simply that – their view. If the tables were turned would you still call me an idiot for thinking it a good film? I can understand your frustration at seeing a movie rated poorly but please keep an open mind to others perceptions. If you still disagree with my point of view after watching the film, please feel free to drop a comment.
      Just for the record, I was dissuaded from giving it zero stars, so there must be something they did right!

  • Lyn

    Personally I dont think you understand it or South african afrikaans humour. I have watched the film and rate it very highly. South africans are sick of american fillms with no depth, lots of blasphemy and want a bit of our own home grown movies that appeal to our audience. I cannot respect an opinion that is so totally baseless and senseless. You dont have to like the movie but honestly the rubbish you have written makes me wonder if you have even watched it

  • Lyn

    and one last post on my thoughts !!! a true critic gives an appraisal of the actual movie – you have not really said anything about the movie or the actors just a lot of drivel. Remember when you criticise this is someone’s dream becoming a reality. Doubt you can do better because it brings to mind the old adage – those who cant do teach in your case those who cant act/write scripts/direct CRITICIZE!!!!

  • Chanel

    I’m Afrikaans, female and I was a prefect at that age and I can honestly say that I don’t think I can relate to the film or the humor. It seems very one sided and superficial with no depth at all. All actors in the movie seem to be first time actors (the kids especially) trying to leave a mark in the industry. There have been so many other South African films that made a bigger impact and that were actually funny.

    Sure this might have been someone’s dream and hard work (the film, in reference to Lynn in the above comment), but I think it would have been better suited as a straight to DVD release to watch at home with your eight year old daughter and her sleep over friends. Once a film gets released into Cinema, it will be subjected to critics, both good and bad.

    This brings me to Lynn, who I quote;
    “Doubt you can do better because it brings to mind the old adage – those who cant do teach in your case those who cant act/write scripts/direct CRITICIZE!!!!”

    You are no better, you just did the same to the reviewer by personally attacking him. And your statement about the reviewer being ‘an idiot’, well that’s just low. Leon van Nierop might be one of the harshest critics in SA but he is most definitely not an honest one. He is Afrikaans and bias towards SA films, of course he’d give it a high rating! Enough said. Some critics even refused to see the film to save themselves from embarrassment and from being attacked by family and cast members of the film crew and actors. Which seems to be the case right now.

    It is a critic’s job to do what they do best: Criticize films (positively and negatively) and save us from wasting our money and our time ;). To each their own opinion.

    Great Review once again!

    Ps. I’m not in for a comment argument. This is my opinion and I stand by what I said.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Daantjie

    I agree with Lyn, I also watched the movie today and rate it highly. In my opinion the actors were quite good. Remember some of them are still kids. After the movie everybody I spoke to said the movie was excellent. Not a single person had a negative word to say.

  • San

    Some people will always criticise Afrikaans movies, whether they are good or not. In my wildest dreams I can’t understand how Joel can give this bad review. Me and my four friends (two of them English) watched the movie today and we think it was DELIGHTFUL. No swearing, no sex.

  • William

    What?? This is not a review. I think this is an attack on clean Afrikaans humour. I’ve seen the movie on Tuesday and I think it was wonderful. I hope mr Kanar reads the front page of todays Beeld. Say no more.

  • Georgie

    I am a thirteen year old girl who had to watch this movie for an afrikaans oral. I agree with this review as to me, well, the movie “sucked”. It was pure nonsense and typical low comedy. The actors could not act and the storyline had no structure. Half the time it made no sense whatsoever! Anyway, this is JUST MY OPINION! Everyone is allowed to have their own opinions. I just think that if they were going to make a movie, that was aimed at children, they could have made it without all the low comedy. Some parts were just too stupid such as when she cut off Nadia’s hair. How do you not realise that! Anyway, young children would perhaps find this amusing.

  • Chad Gold

    Luckily the target audience wasn’t you. I think it was an exceptional movie. It was understood my teens and primary school children. It was a good hour or so. No one besides you has anything negative to say. please. I rate it a full five stars.

  • Cassidy

    I also watched this for an Afrikaans oral and my whole class enjoyed it, (including the boys!) Just because it isn’t a fancy American movie doesn’t meen it isn’t good… And about the advertisements, South Africa doesn’t pop out movies every day like other places, so you can’t expect to get a lot of money to go towards a movie like this, so obviously they had to get the money somehow. I don’t dislike you for having an opinion, but this is my opinion.