Title – Everybody’s Oma (2022)
Director – Jason van Genderen (feature debut)
Cast – Jason van Genderen, Hendrika van Genderen
Plot – Filmmaker Jason van Genderen documents his own mother Hendrika’s battle against dementia that leads to her becoming an unlikely online viral sensation during the Covid pandemic.
“Unlike a memory, love lasts forever”
Review by Eddie on 05/09/2022
Equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, filmmaker Jason van Genderen’s intimate Australian documentary Everybody’s Oma is the little film that could, giving it a genuine chance to be regarded as the best Aussie film of 2022.
A short film specialist who found his life changed forever when he decided to turn his attention away from his own business and focus on looking after his mother Hendrika as she battles the debilitating effects of dementia, van Genderen, his family and particularly his kindhearted mother found worldwide fame during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 as van Genderen’s social media documentation of the trials and tribulations of his mothers battle found their way in front of peoples eyes from across the globe.
Hoping to both spread joy in the world that at the time was scarily bereft of it and also shine a light on dementia in a warts and all fashion, van Genderen no doubt had little idea just where his and his mothers journey would take them but thankfully for all of us he was able to end up with the finished product that is Everybody’s Oma, a universal love letter to family, love and making the most of every moment one can get in a life that can be gone before we know it.
Beautifully put together by van Genderen, who gets help from all members of his family across the multi-year scanning documentation, Everybody’s Oma is one of those instantly relatable and likeable films that is the equivalent to a big cinematic hug but for the benefit of all van Genderen isn’t afraid to let the true horrors of Hendrika’s condition take centre stage and seeing the toll her deteriorating health has on her and her loved ones is shocking but also necessary to what is trying to be accomplished in this little film with a big heart and message.
Confined for a majority to the van Genderen household, where Jason’s incredibly patient and caring wife Megan resides also, there’s never a moment where Everybody’s Oma isn’t moving along or a moment where it feels as though it’s coming from an insincere place and while it would’ve been nice for the audience to understand more about Hendrika’s history and who she was before her disease began to define her, there’s unlikely to be many viewers out there who aren’t moved and inspired by a very lovable Oma’s journey and the journey of those that love and support her no matter the cost to themselves.
Final Say –
A little Aussie film that could, Everybody’s Oma is a genuinely pleasant surprise that will have you smiling, laughing and crying in multiple moments throughout making Jason van Genderen’s documentary a must-see and a timely reminder of the stories left to tell from the shores of our country.
4 jars of apple sauce out of 5