This film was previously reviewed in August 2020 as part of our Fantasia Festival coverage.

Why can’t we just have different opinions and be nice about it? Femke Boot (Katja Herbers), a columnist, author, and single mother, begins receiving death threats and horrid comments on social media platforms after she publishes a political article that causes dissent online. The Columnist (De Kuthoer) from director Ivo van Aart chronicles what happens when Femke finally decides she has had enough and takes revenge on those who she believes have wronged her. 

Herbers delivers an absolute knock-out of a performance as Femke, who has become utterly obsessed with reading the opinions other people have on her, knowing full well that this will not only enrage her but also fuel her vengeful spirit. Watching Herbers, in the blink of an eye, seamlessly transform from a woman who is defeated by these comments and simply pleading for people to understand that words hurt even when they’re said online, into someone who channels this anger into something sinister, is incredible. 

Van Aart gives viewers a peek into the repercussions that hate spewed online can cause. Although it’s quite hyperbolic, there is plenty of interesting commentary and a boat load of irony regarding censoring freedom of speech to dissect here. As Femke walks down the aisle of a grocery store, vicious tweets about her are shown projected above her head. This is just one example in The Columnist of how online hate can be all-consuming and even addictive, both in sending it and receiving it.

The Columnist is chock-full of dark humour and a big middle finger to those who participate in online bullying. The cleverness here is that it shows both sides, where those who torment others from their computers are cowardly, but there is no way to silence them without dire societal consequence.



CAST: Genio de Groot, Katja Herbers, Rein Hofman, Bram van der Kelen, Claire Porro

DIRECTOR:  Ivo van Aart

WRITER: Daan Windhorst

SYNOPSIS: Femke, a columnist and author, is flooded with nasty anonymous messages and death threats on social media and decides to take revenge.