Opening 28 Sep 2023
German director Marc Rothemund’s delightful sports comedy-drama and Richard Kropf’s screenplay is an adaptation of Mirco and Jason von Juterczenka’s autobiographical blog, Der Wochenendrebell – Groundhopping mit Asperger, 2011, and their subsequent books. Jason’s Asperger’s syndrome puts a strain on the family yet cannot penetrate their love for him. A pact becomes a journey neither father nor son anticipates, opening alternating approaches to growth, embarrassment, perseverance, thoughtfulness, and an exciting adventure.
Fatime (Aylin Tezel) has her hands full with toddler Lucy (Florina Siegel) and 10-year-old Jason’s (Cecilio Andresen) demands, behavior and house rules. Particularly as Mirco (Florian David Fitz), on the road all week with his job, is exhausted at the weekend. Until an incident at Jason’s school results in an immediate in-person meeting with both parents, i.e., dad’s presence is specifically requested. The school is supportive and patient, but Jason’s autism is causing too many disruptions in class and with (some) of the students; they advise Jason to attend a special school. For the first time, Mirco’s awareness of Jason’s challenges, and Fatime’s stoicism, are front and center for him to fix. Mirco talks to his boss (Leslie Malton). Watching a televised Fußball (soccer) match amid friendly banter with Opa Gerd and Ömchen (Joachim Król, Petra-Maria Cammin respectively) Jason talks about classmates having a favorite club. A chance remark leads to an interesting exchange between father and son. Mirco will help Jason find a favorite team, and he will work harder to constrain himself at school—too easy, thinks Mirco. Jason sets the terms of the pact, unknowingly increasing personal challenges.
Rothemund delivers an astute, fun and exceptionally balanced film, helped in large part by the deft editing of Hans Horn and Chris Mühlbauer. Andresen’s impressive characterization is richly developed, and the cast performances strong. Philip Peschlow’s cinematography keeps pace with the action, just as Hans Hafner and Johnny Klimek’s soundtrack fully enunciate Wochenendrebellen’s surges and swells. Faced with a tall order, Mirco and Jason take off on a road trip that offers unexpected heights, sights and defining team spirit events for everyone. So climb aboard for the time of your life. (Marinell Haegelin)