The Greatest Gift/Největší dar (2022)

The Greatest Gift/Největší dar (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: The Greatest Gift/Největší dar (2022)
Director: Marta Santovjáková Gerlíková, Daria Hrubá
Cast-Sabina Rojková, Veronika Valicková, and Zuzana Slavíková
Genres: Fairy tale/Fantasy
Release date: December 1, 2022
IMDB Rating: 5.5/10
Languages: Czech Republic
Duration: 1h 35m


The Greatest Gift/Největší dar (2022)


In recent weeks, several Czech fairy tales have tried it in cinemas with more or less success. Jan Budař arrived first as Princ Mamánek, followed by the ambitious Princess Cursed in Time 2 and now we have The Greatest Gift. The film was talked about by far the least and it is hard to imagine that it should be able to establish itself in the fairy-tale competition and at a time when the audience is looking for Avatar, in any way interesting. Maybe I’m wrong and it will be a hit, but if you’re considering going to the cinema to see a story about Slavic gods and people with a speech impediment, I’ll try to dissuade you.

Yeah, this forum was very cheap, I’m aware of that, but considering the overall cheapness of the Greatest Gift, it seemed quite appropriate. If the fairy tale The Greatest Gift attracts anything, it is precisely its cheapness. Most of the time, the story can do with a few nice cottages, and when the plot revolves around people, it all seems tolerable. But the moment we move among the Slavic gods, one starts to remember pre-revolutionary TV fairy tales. The costumes are hideous and usually just rags of different colors, and Martin Stránský’s fake beard alternately makes me smile and fear. But it stops being funny the moment it turns out that the directors didn’t even know how to take care of such things as shots of paved roads between houses.

It’s damn hard to forgive The Greatest Gift for anything when it seems this sloppy and unfinished. It could perhaps be excused by a certain inexperience of the filmmakers or the fact that the film was made during a pandemic, but on the other hand, The Greatest Gift goes to cinemas and the creators understandably want the audience to buy tickets for it at full price, so room for excuses and narrowed eyes I don’t see it here. It’s just ugly and amateurish. And unfortunately, this applies not only to the audiovisual side.

Perhaps even worse is the narration itself. Daria Hrubá and Marta Santovjáková Gerlíková put more on their backs than they could handle. It deals with the evil Morena, who wants to plunge the world into eternal winter. There is the god Svarožice, who pulls acorns in his ears so that he does not hear anything and iniquities are happening in the world. There’s a Death Eater who doesn’t like his job. And there’s Radegast, who is planning a calabash. And please, we are only with the gods. What happens between people? All. Seasons change, children go to school, and everyone laughs and screams annoyingly loudly.

Most of the time, The Greatest Gift is one big mess of a story. Normally, with fairy tales and similar genres, I don’t follow the logic of individual scenes and the entire story, because it seems unfair to me, but here it can’t be any other way. The female directors themselves did not seem to know how their world worked. When you travel through time, you travel through time “only somewhere”, the story moves in leaps and bounds, and what happens on the screen does not evoke any emotions in the viewer. Perhaps apart from boredom and the occasional feeling of awkwardness. The attempt to sell the fairy tale through examples of Slavic and Wallachian traditions runs into the problem that, due to a good ten important characters, the female directors are unable to even tell the story (not particularly complicated) and they are still holding back. By the way, the humorous scenes stand on the roar of Zuzana Slavíková, the funny non-Czech of Chantal Poullain, the maniacally laughing little girl from the Beskydy Mountains or the speech impediment of a six-year-old child. So it didn’t work out here either.

As the footage progresses, The Greatest Gift feels more and more like an unmanaged vanity. Unpretty, overly ambitious, badly told, and not handled in every way. This movie does not belong in cinemas. He’s not up to it.

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