“Tulip Fever” manages to bloom among the weeds


Dane Dehaan and Alicia Vikander play Jan Van Loos and Sophia in “Tulip Fever” Photo Credit: MCT Campus

Shaina Borg, Staff Writer

Based on the novel by Deborah Moggach, set during the tulip craze in 17th century Amsterdam, “Tulip Fever,” directed by Justin Chadwick, was not only romantic, but engaging and surprisingly suspenseful with plot twists to keep a seemingly predictable storyline interesting and exciting.

Considered a “flop” weekend at the box office due to an expected low viewer turnout with a less-than-exciting movie premier lineup, which included the re-release of the 1977 Steven Spielberg film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Goon: Last of the Enforcers” and “The Layover”. “Tulip Fever” was a refreshing surprise with a plot that proves that reality may not be what is envisioned and lust can easily be confused with love.

The film follows Sophia (Alicia Vikander), who was raised as an orphan in a convent, Sophia is saved from a life of poverty when she marries the wealthy and much older Cornelis Sanvoort (Christoph Waltz). Cornelis hires a young, unknown painter, Jan Van Loos (Dane DeHaan), to paint their portraits. Little did Cornelis know that this would lead to a tale of betrayal and deceit. Sophia, a once loyal and faithful wife, is eager to give Cornelis a son as she feels indebted to him for saving her. Sophia creates a web of lies implicating innocent lives with blackmail, manipulation and deception to anyone snagged in the web, all the meanwhile, Sophia tries to keep the facade of a perfect marriage. Although the climax seems predictable, subtle hints from what seem like benign scenes earlier in the film make themselves present later on, adding unexpected plot twists and a good sense of closure at the end of the film.

Prior to the film’s release, an article in The Atlantic by David Sims revealed that “Tulip Fever” was originally filmed in 2014 and was scheduled to release two years ago. The premier was pushed back three times due to unknown reasons; however, it was rumored that The Weinstein Company, which produced the film, did not have the funds to release it on its first scheduled release date. Pushed back once again to February 2017, after awards season, Sims believes this could imply that it didn’t have “awards potential.” Additionally, Sims wrote in his article that the film, “(Tulip Fever) isn’t being screened for critics, and the release strategy is reminiscent of someone being snuck out the back door in hopes of attracting as little attention as possible.”

The mystery behind the release of “Tulip Fever” may give the perception as a poorly produced film that is likely to be forgotten along with the other premieres from Labor Day weekend, but “Tulip Fever” should not be overlooked.  Although the likeability of some of the characters may be debatable, the performances of each actor was well done, most notably, Waltz’s performance as Cornelis, whose naivety and heartache are brilliantly conveyed in the film, allowing the viewer to empathize with what appears to be the feeling of pure disappointment. If you’re looking for a romantic stomach-churning drama with a historical reference, catch “Tulip Fever” while it’s still in theaters.