© X-Verleih/Warner Bros.

Alter und Schönheit (Age and Beauty)
Germany 2008

Opening 8 Jan 2009

Directed by: Michael Klier
Writing credits: Michael Klier
Principal actors: Henry Hübchen, Burghart Klaußner, Armin Rohde, Sibylle Canonica, Peter Lohmeyer

Facing death is hard to do especially if it is one of your best friends. Four friends come together after years of not seeing each other. Manni has cancer and Harry, Justus and Bernhard, who gather around him, are trying to understand and cope with their feelings about what is about to happen. They look hard at the life they had with him as well as their own lives. Often their responses are inappropriate as they try to express themselves. A dying man does not need a watch that can do everything as a present. His friends see Manni as a man who got what he wanted: cars, money, women and a super career. So it surprises them that his last wish is to see Rosie. Suddenly they are confronted with their own past since Rosie shared that time period with them as well and holds the emotional key. They also are forced to look at their current lives: Harry living between two women, Justus paying for an ex wife and four kids and Bernhard, a teacher in a loveless marriage.

The film is slow, awkward and sometimes strange. In fact I didn’t even like the film when I watched it. It was only later that I realized how director Michael Klier captured perfectly how many men deal with sickness and death. The film is quiet and lacks the drama that e.g., Terms of Endearment portrays, which makes this film interesting only to a small audience. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

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