Meet the De la Harpe golden child, Wilemien (Leandie du Randt), who has enjoyed a lavish life, growing up in Franschoek, on the very successful Vrede en Lust farm. Before she ventures off to varsity her father Herman (Guy de Villiers), lists all the things she should and shouldn’t do, fueled with stories of what students get up to at Stellenbosch. Already paints the picture of the do-gooder who does what she’s told to please her family.
On the other side of the coin we have Don ‘Vossie’ Voster (Kaz McFadden). The type of character one can’t deny crossing paths with, and usually reluctantly so. He is actually a sweetheart, but has an incredibly awkward social approach. Vossie is given a bowtie by his father Jagter (Albert Maritz) a tradition passed to the first born son of each generation. Supposedly it will aid him in his new chapter and bring him luck among the ladies. There is a lot of love in this bohemian house hold, close nit and nurturing.
Months past, and Wilemien does exactly as expected of her, even dating AJ Blignaut (Sean-Marco Voster), whom share the same posh wine farm upbringing. The children of two wealthy wine farmers, looking at marriage and joining the family businesses – sounds far to scripted yes? Well never trust when things seem too picture perfect.
Vossie on the other hand form a group of three, calling themselves the Stellenbosch Liberation Front, they go off on a comical save the animals mission, but results in him frantically running away from a security guard. It’s on this evening that our two leads meet. Wilemien sits sobbing after breaking up with AJ, when Vossie deems it appropriate to approach the blond damsel. Alarmed by his presence, she can’t get away from him fast enough. But he insists on walking her home, as a self-proclaimed gentleman. But it is all kinds of creepy, but the lad is oblivious to this and declares himself in love.
Annoyed that her father is so adamant that she take AJ back, she is fuelled with defiance for the first time in her life, and what better way to demonstrate this than with Vossie. Yes it is cruel to use anyone, especially someone so endearing like Vossie even if he is a bit weird. She finds him protesting in front of a tree about to be cut down, invites him for coffee (not saying where) in a heartbeat he leaves to spend time with his beauty. You have to admire his confidence.
Upon arrival, her parents and grandmother await on the foot of the porch steps. The looks on their faces when they meet Vossie is absolutely priceless. He thinks he is there to prove himself worthy of her heart.
With a carefully selected star cast, each brings colour to the script. Respecting their individual parts and working well as an ensemble. Special mention of the leading man Kaz McFadden, his character Vossie, could easily be overly animated, but Faz managed to lend himself to the text rather than forced cliché comical tactics. Which makes Vossie so believable, and heartfelt, it takes time but he really grows on you and in a sense you are reminded of Hiccup from How to Train your Dragon – the scrawny boy that manages to bring such positive change, by being exactly who he is, however odd that might be. Another success is the natural awkwardness, often scripts avoid or force it for comical relief, in this film it is so well done that you find yourself simultaneously cringing and smiling. Because we have all been in a similar situation. And what one appreciates is that in those moments, the writers didn’t add insulting dialogue.
Strikdas is full of hysterical comedy, manipulation, deceit, endearment, heartache and courage. There is definitely something for everyone to relate to or recognize in their personal lives. Yes in this film it is somewhat animated, but conveys one of the oldest truths – don’t judge a book by its cover. Definitely a family friendly film, which is guaranteed to make you smile, while being reminded of a valuable lesson. A genuinely ‘lekker’ local film.
“Sometimes you have to be yourself, even if it’s inconvenient.”