Tibbe (Theo Maassen, Black Book, Interview) is a newspaper reporter so shy, he risks unemployment because he can’t bring himself to talk to people. Luck comes to his apartment window in the form of Minoes (Carice van Houten, Black Death, TV’s Game of Thrones), a young woman who gives him a scoop that turns into a score.
Minoes has a nose for news because she prowls about rooftops. She’s actually a cat, you see, or was until she drank from a barrel leaking liquid of an indeterminable nature. In exchange for bags of sardines, she keeps giving him tips. Naturally, she helps him stumble into the story of his career, which may cost him their lives. And who knows if the human Minoes still has nine of those?
Then around 25, van Houten is thoroughly cute and winning in her role (except when bits of sardines are stuck to her lips), more than ably portraying all the feline qualities we know and love: licking her paws, hissing at perceived threats, baring claws in defense. But her performance isn’t purely physical; she’s equally adept at playing naivety, especially when speaking to her fellow feline. Yes, the cats speak, but they’re all real; only their moving mouths are CGI — it sure beats talking chipmunks and their Squeakquels.
Slight, but utterly charming, Miss Minoes is a good bet for movie night with your children. Don’t even tell them it’s from another country; since Music Box Films’ DVD is dubbed in English, they might not notice, or be too wrapped up to ask. Similarly, they won’t understand the subplot of corporate shenanigans that informs the last third, but with the slapstick comedy — catstick? — at play, they won’t mind. —Rod Lott