Sonny Boy (2011 film)

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Sonny Boy
Directed by Maria Peters
Produced by Shooting Star Filmcompany
Written by Annejet van der Zijl (novel)
Maria Peters
Starring Ricky Koole
Sergio Hasselbaink
Marcel Hensema
Music by Henny Vrienten
Cinematography Walther van den Ende
Edited by Ot Louw
Distributed by A-Film
Release date
  • 27 January 2011 (2011-01-27)
Running time
132 minutes
Country Netherlands
Language Dutch

Sonny Boy is a 2011 Dutch film directed by Maria Peters, after the book by Annejet van der Zijl, based on a true story about interracial love during the WW2. The film was produced by Shooting Star Filmcompany. The film was selected as the Dutch entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards,[1][2] but it did not make the final shortlist.[3]


In 1928, a young man from Suriname named Waldemar Nods (Sergio Hasselbaink) goes to the Netherlands to study. His dark skin stands out and causes discrimination. He moves to lodging in The Hague with Rika, who went to live separated from her deeply religious husband Willem, after she discovered him cheating with the maid Jans. She has taken all four of their children (Willem, John, Bertha and Henk) with her.

Waldemar and the 17 year his senior Rika start a relationship and she becomes pregnant. She says nothing to Waldemar and goes to a woman for an illegal abortion, but changes her mind. When she is four months pregnant she tells Waldemar. He is angry for not having been told, and leaves. Wim and Jan run away, to their father Willem. Waldemar returns, and when Willem visits Rika to tell her about a job opening in Indonesia, he asks her to come along. He will accept the baby as his own child. He changes his mind when he learns the father is dark skinned. He also gets a court order for Bertha and Henk to live with him, with success. He refuses a divorce, preventing Rika remarrying Waldemar.

When the child is born, they call the boy Waldy, nicknamed Sonny Boy. Rika’s landlord terminates the rental, because of Rika's extramarital affair, especially with a dark-skinned Surinamese. Rika and Waldemar roam the streets with Waldy, when they meet an older Jewish man, Sam, who rents them a room.

With financial support from Sam, Rika and Waldemar start a guest house in Scheveningen. When The Netherlands are invaded by the Germans, Rika and Waldemar are forced to give shelter to German soldiers. Later on they have to evacuate the guest house, as the area is cleared for the “Atlantik Wall” defense system.

Because Rika is mother of five children she is allotted a big replacement house. At the request of a young resistance fighter she met in church through the help of a clergyman, Rika starts hiding people in her house. As the fee for Jews is higher than for Dutch, she chooses to hide Jewish people. After some time also an SS deserter joins the hiding. At first Waldy is not informed of the hiders, but after witnessing Sam’s deportation and a street fight Rika is visited by a collaborating official. Waldy hears something upstairs and discovers the hide aways. After a raid the hiders are discovered and arrested, together with Waldemar, Rika and Waldy. Waldy is released and goes to live with relatives. This is not safe, because the Germans want to put more pressure on Waldemar and Rika during interrogations. Waldy is therefore placed with a farmer. When people come to the farm during the hunger winter, Waldy prevents a couple selling their wedding rings for food, by offering his parents’ rings. The farmer refuses Waldy’s rings and explain everybody tries to make some money during wartime, also Rika and Waldemar were paid for the hiding.

Rika dies in concentration camp Ravensbrück. Waldemar is also shipped to a concentration camp, but through his language skills, he is drafted for the mailroom. This gives him opportunity to send letters to Waldy clandestinely. After Hitler's death Waldemar is deported to the ship Cap Arcona, which is attacked by the Allies. He jumps into the sea and swims to shore. He can swim well, which he learned in Surinam, where he swam long distances in the river – he used to say “water is my friend.. On arrival on the beach, he is killed by two German child soldiers.


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