© Constantin Film Verleih GmbH

Das Pubertier
Germany 2017

Opening 6 Jul 2017

Directed by: Leander Haußmann
Writing credits: Leander Haußmann, Jan Weiler
Principal actors: Jan Josef Liefers, Justus von Dohnanyi, Detlev Buck, Monika Gruber, Harriet Herbig-Matten

Hannes (Liefers) takes time off from writing his next book in order to have more time to supervise his daughter Carla (Herbig-Matten). She will soon turn 14, and already shows signs of typical adolescent rebellion. His wife Sara (Heike Makatsch), mother of Clara, sees this as an opportunity to go back to work, leaving total responsibility in the hands of Hannes, who says, “There is no right or wrong in upbringing – only wrong.”

Naturally, alcohol, first dates, house parties, overnights, mobile phones, etc., are too much for this poor father. He discusses problems with his friend Holger (Buck), who has a son the same age. While Hannes is over protective, Holger’s reaction is to wash his hands of the whole problem and disappear. Soon we see that the fathers haven’t really left adolescence themselves, drinking, using drugs, invading privacy, and causing overall embarrassment. What example are they for their children? At least the cuckoo in the family clock can be depended upon to do its job.

This film has already enjoyed enthusiastic advance publicity and will certainly be a hit in Germany. Actor Jan Josef Liefers is well-known from the Tatort TV series, as well as other films and music presentations. Jan Weiler not only wrote the book upon which the film is based, but is a well-known journalist with regular contributions to Die Welt am Sonntag. In an interview in that paper he said that his own children, ages 14 and 18, gave him ideas, but are not fictionalized in the film.

Director Haußmann makes a successful comedy from age-old clichés like sex, discipline, addiction, etc., by going fresh and unexpected directions.  Although the word Pubertier doesn’t actually exist in the German language, it could have been created from the German noun Pubertät or adjectives puberal/pubertär. The best English translation is probably “the adolescent.” How about a sequel? Carla has a younger brother on the verge of puberty. Still, Haußmann will be hard put to top this presentation. (Becky Tan)

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