Opening 15 Nov 2018
Writing credits: Sandra Nettelbeck
Principal actors: Christian Berkel, Bjarne Mädel, Mark Waschke, Deborah Kaufmann, Johanna ter Steege
“Whatever doesn’t kill us” is a literal translation of the title of this “ensemble film.” And what an ensemble it is. Psychotherapist Max and his ex-wife Loretta have teenaged daughters Eleonor and Esther. Sophie is having an affair with David, who is the father of Lars. Fritz is a gay pilot who has a long-term relationship with Robert, whose sister Laurie comes to visit from abroad. Mark is an undertaker, who does business with Isabelle who writes books; his sister Henriette helps him run the funeral home. Hannes and Sunny work in the zoo. Fabian teaches medicine at Loretta’s university. All take turns sitting in the private practice of Max, where they hope therapy will solve their problems of loneliness, relationships, unemployment, autism, depression, hypochondria, pregnancy or anything else. And what about poor Max’s problems? Can he treat himself? In the end, all is well, although in at least one case, Panama the dog is the better therapist.
Naturally, this is an excellent opportunity to see over 20 talented German actors, some of whom you might not have experienced so far. Otherwise it’s definitely a hard 129 minutes to watch, especially for anyone who has no problems what so ever, myself included. Suggestion for a new title: Get a Life! Why not divide this film into short chapters and make it a soap opera? It played at the 2018 Filmfest Hamburg. (Becky Tan)