Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

American guests have no idea who Sissi is when they visit Bavaria/Austria for the very first time. Much to the (somewhat acted) shock of local guides, who refer to her quite a lot and then dramatically shout: “You mean: you don’t know Sissiiiiii ?”

The classic Sissy trilogy is not known to American audiences. There’s an abbreviated English dubbed version which is terrible. So never – ever – watch Sissi: Forever My Love. Just watch the original trilogy, in German, with subtitles.

Growing up in Europe, this trilogy is shown almost every year on several tv channels around christmas. Its success is a bit like The Sound Of Music, which was never popular in Austria and Bavaria by the way. Maybe a new generation has never seen the movies, but if you’re over forty, you must have at least seen parts of it.

The first movie: Sissi *** is still a great joy to watch. Camp isn’t the correct term. It’s more cheesy and corny. It’s a idealized portrait of the future Austrian empress from the moment she first meets Franz Joseph to her wedding. It’s a romcom that still works well 7 decades later. There is some efficient slapstick humor, the acting is deliberately over the top, Romy Schneider looks gorgeous and it has all the elements of a fairytale: the bold and adventurous princess, the charming prince (well…) and the evil stepmother. It’s really not a bad movie at all.

In Sissi, die junge Kaiserin **(*), there’s less comedy (although there are attempts) and more drama. Sissi is empress now and has a hard time with the strict life at court. When her first-born is taken away from her, she flees home. Time for Franz Joseph to gain her back. No wedding at the end, no divorce either. But the (very long) crowning of the couple as king and queen of Hungary. Lots of patriotism in this episode. Lots of postcard settings in cities and nature. Lots of Romy looking exactly how everyone wants to remember the empress.

Sissi, Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin ** is the third installment and the worst. Even though the first two movies were also not historically correct, they weren’t so historically incorrect as this one. This is pure fiction at times. The comic relief is gone and it just basically shows Sissi abroad. First during her lengthy stay in Hungary, then her trips to Madeira and Corfu (to cure from a lung infection) and then her trip home via Milan and Venice. This must have been like watching the Travel Channel back in the fifties, but anno 2019 it’s not really fascinating. Especially since all these nationalities are introduced in the most stereotypical way possible. No. This is not a good one, but Romy Schneider is absolutely gorgeous in every single scene. So. Watch it while doing something else. Like reading online what really happened to Sissi and Franz Joseph.

 

 

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Gräns – **(*)

Posted: July 20, 2019 in 2018, Fantasy, Romance, Sweden, XX1/2

Not half as bizarre as critics want you to believe, this romantic drama will keep you intrigued until the very end.

Tina looks different. She’s been told that it’s due to a mistake in the chromosome system. She has some traits that others don’t have though. She can smell emotions and feels much more united with nature. She works at customs and can ‘sniff’ out those passengers with illegal merchandise. Then, one day, she meets a passenger that seems to suffer from the same medical injustice. It turns her world upside down. He claims not to be human.

It’s a movie about a troll woman figuring out who she really is. And it’s a good movie. Sure, there are some scenes that may be disturbing, but they fit the narrative. It’s a bit predictable though. You may not smell it, but you can still anticipate what’s coming. Maybe that’s why in the end it’s a bit disappointing, after having read all the raving reviews.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5501104/?

Juliet, Naked – **(*)

Posted: February 7, 2019 in 2018, Romance, romcom, UK, XX

Flight movie #2

At the end of this indie comedy the name Nick Hornsby comes up and it all makes sense. The British author has written several books and screenplays that focus on quirky romance with a musical impact.

Same in this gem, which revolves around a young woman who’s a bit bored with her partner of fifteen years. The guy is obsessed with an indie rock star from the nineties, who he devoted a blog and an entire basement room to. The rock star hasn’t made any music for the past twenty years and seemed to have disappeared from the planet after he walked out of a concert back in the mid nineties. One day a demo cd arrives at the couples’ home address and it turns out to be the first new material of this rock star. This will change the future of all three people drastically.

It’s a fun movie. Ethan Hawke is the rock star and he does a fine job. His character is really goofy and irresponsible. He ends up showing up in the UK, more specific in a charming coastal town of Kent, where the couple lives. The jokes are witty and very British. The drama is light-hearted, but engaging. The music sucks, but that’s the whole point of the story. It’s over before you know it. So give it a shot.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5607096

God’s Own Country – *(*)

Posted: September 14, 2018 in 2017, Drama, LGBT themed, Romance, UK, X1/2

Somewhere in the north of England, a young closeted farmer boy has a tough time helping out his crippled dad and his bossy grandmother. He often goes to the local pub to get wasted and from time to time – at a cow market in the movie – he has meaningless sex with pretty boys. Then a Rumanian seasonal worker arrives to help during a cold early spring and after some initial resentment, the farmer boys fall head over heels for each other.

Sounds familiar?

Branded the British Brokeback Mountain, this movie has a tough time being original. Two masculine gay guys falling in love while living in a remote place amongst a herd of sheep. BORING!

Yet, it’s an arthouse favorite and gets good reviews online. But by whom?

Whoever calls this story romantic, clearly hasn’t experienced romance before. Whoever calls this story hopeful hasn’t experienced hopelessness before.

What are the odds that a not so attractive farmer boy in a remote place encounters a handsome Rumanian man, who falls for him even though he’s been calling him a Gypsy several times. I mean, really? Then all of a sudden, without any real flirtation, they go at it in the mud. And they don’t look dirty. They work on a farm, head out into the hills and sleep in a shed, but they look like they just went shopping for fancy clothes. Then within a week, the farmer boy changes from a drunk pseudo-macho loser to a devote sweet guy who suddenly cares for his father. And a week later of finally having found love, he cheats on his lover by fucking some random student in the toilet of the local bar. What are the odds? You tell me, if this all sounds realistic.

Go watch Being 17 (Quand On A 17 Ans) instead. Now thát was a good movie with a realistic story of two people in a remote place feeling attracted to each other and loathing each other for it.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5635086/

Elio Perlman is a cosmopolitan kid who resides with his parents in their fancy summer-house somewhere in the north of Italy. Most of the time he’s just bored. He excels in the arts. Plays the piano, the guitar, reads a lot of books and is a bit of loner. His father does some archeological research in the area and has invited an American man to come help him. The man is dashing. He has the whole village under his charm. From the teenage girls to the poker playing seniors. However, this is Elio’s story and Elio falls in love with him.

The directing is fine. The shots are great to look at. The soundtrack really works well. Combining piano compositions with silly 80s italo-disco. The acting by newcomer Timothée Chalamat is remarkable. So different from the shy and uncomfortable appearances on talk shows. The movie makes you want to book a trip to Italy and it makes you want to retreat to go write a book or something and to fall in love with the first attractive stranger that comes around.

BUT. It’s a silly story. Boy falls for man. Man first keeps a distance. Boy starts exploring his sexuality with his best female friend. Man then lures boy into his bed. Boy dumps girlfriend. Man and boy have a holiday fling. The end. Two and a half hours long! Yawn. Yes, it’s a bit awkward to watch a blossoming relationship between an adolescent boy and a man. But watching Lolita is also awkward. But hey, it’s all consensual. The kid is a cool kid to empathize with. The man however is boring as hell. Why on earth is this kid interested in this man? That’s the big failure of this movie. The object of love and lust has the charisma of an abricot. Or no. The abricot has more charisma. Watch the movie to find out why.

Disappointed. The story is boring. The audio-visuals are beautiful.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5726616 

The Theory Of Everything – **

Posted: March 14, 2018 in 2014, biopic, Romance, UK, USA, XX

A young, beautiful, christian, language student falls for a funny, nerdy, atheist scientist. But soon he’s diagnosed with a muscle disease and only has 2 more years to live. They get married and try to make the most of it. However, the dude continues to live. And becomes a popular scientist, publishing a best seller et al. She could easily cheat. And she has a love interest! Her choir leader and family friend Jonathan!. But she remains loyal. The scientist, all paralyzed, gets along really well with his new nurse, who he seems to be able to communicate with well (via computer screen technique). Will he cheat?

Yep, it’s that kind of movie: a romantic drama!

Never really cared about seeing this movie, but hey, Stephen Hawking died today and I hardly know anything about him. So, it was worth the attempt. Not that this movie helped. I know as little about him now as before. Kudos to the main actors. Oscar-winner Eddy Redmayne did a Daniel Day Lewis and did it well. And Felicity Jones is the real star of the movie. She shines in every scene. Just for the acting sake and because Hawking died today: **.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2980516

Ae Fond Kiss – **

Posted: November 14, 2017 in 2014, Romance, Social Drama, UK, XX

For a movie made in 2004, this Ken Loach film still functions well in 2017. Nothing has changed in 13 years. A sad conclusion. The premise still intrigues these days. Can a catholic, female music teacher and a muslim accountant find happiness as a couple in modern-day Western society? Yes? No? Maybe?

Ae Fond Kiss feels like it was made by a debutant graduating from an unknown film academy. Which is not a bad thing, apart from the fact that it’s made by an experienced and award-winning director. The script is so predictable. Of course the catholic school environment will be depicted as being as old-fashioned as the Pakistani tradition of arranged marriages. The social commentary is too gentle. If you want to confront viewers with racism, don’t do it by just mentioning it. Go for the uncomfortable feeling! Some scenes don’t make sense. Like the moment where the guy discovers a tattoo on the body of his new girlfriend, which he has been licking and kissing all night long a few days before. Duh! The acting of most of the cast is non-professional. Which is fine. Eva Birthisle is quite remarkable as the teacher. Atta Yaqub looks lost as the Pakistani accountant. But playing the character as a bit of a shy loser, makes him more sympathetic. The rest probably didn’t even get paid for being extras with lines.  It has a terrible end. Totally opposite of what any rational person would conclude. But the whole experience is worth the watch. A Scottish movie to recommend!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380366