© Constantin Film Verleih GmbH

Heiter bis Wolkig
Germany 2012

Opening 6 Sep 2012

Directed by: Marco Petry
Writing credits: Axel Staeck, Marco Petry, Jan Ehlert
Principal actors: Max Riemelt, Anna Fischer, Jessica Schwarz, Elyas M'Barek, Dieter Tappert

There seems to be a veritable avalanche of European films about senior citizens, the handicapped and fatal diseases. Just a few examples are: The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes, Amour, Halt auf freier Strecke, Death of a Super Hero, Hasta la Vista, or And If We All Lived Together. My theory is that after World War II, the European public was tired of suffering and there was a rush of films which were light, musical, and optimistic. These days the average person is relatively healthy, earns enough to live on, and looks forward to a long life. So now we need films about suffering as a contrast to our own carefree existences. Heiter bis Wolkig fits right into this category. A literal translation would be fair to cloudy, although heiter also means cheerful, but you get the idea.

Tim and his friend Can (Elyas M’Barek) go to bars and pretend that one is looking for a date for his friend, who is supposedly deathly ill, and needs one last roll in the hay (you know a better word for that, I’m sure). Thus Tim (Max Riemelt) meets Marie (Anna Fischer) and they fall in love. Marie must care for her (rather) older, ill sister Edda (Jessica Schwarz) who spends a lot of time in bed awaiting death. Marie still believes that Tim has fatal cancer, but Edda (who can judge from her own experience) knows that Tim is putting on an act. He, however, can’t fess up to Marie and reveal the truth of a trick to get her into bed. Rather complicated. Naturally, all is well in the end. Edda dies after seeking revenge against her former boss and former boyfriend. Tim and Can quit their boring job in a canteen and open their own cozy Edda’s Restaurant (I’m still wondering if Edda left Tim something in her will to deserve a restaurant under her name). Marie learns the truth, is furious for a few takes, and then forgives Tim for pretending to be something he wasn’t.

This story could go on forever with Can picking up a girl in a bar because he is “sick.” Why not make a soap opera for TV? It would be a great success. Otherwise, although the actors all do their best, the film doesn’t really stick with you very long. It tries to hard to impart a message, but is too frivolous. In the end the fake illness is just as interesting as the real one, namely, not very interesting at all. (Becky Tan)

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