Opening May 23, 2019
Directed by: Edward Berger
Writing credits: Edward Berger, Nele Mueller-Stöfen
Principal actors: Lars Eidinger, Nele Mueller-Stöfen, Godehard Giese, Hans Löw
Three siblings, three chapters. First: Stefan (Lars Eidinger) is growing deaf and therefore cannot work as a pilot. Forced to stay at home, in his large, empty apartment with swimming pool, his only solution is to drive around in his fancy convertible, check out the local night spots and pick up women who might be impressed with the fact that he is wearing a pilot’s uniform. His daughter Vicky might move back in with him. Second: Sister Julia (Nele Mueller-Stöfen) and her husband Christian (Godehard Giese) are on vacation in Italy. During one of their long walks, Julia finds an ailing dog and takes it back to her hotel. She is so incensed with the dog, that she calls the hotel doctor to take a look at its ailments. In the end, in spite of resistance by Christian, she takes the dog back to her home in Germany. Soon we realize that love for this dog eases the pain that Julia feels for the loss of her son Leon three years ago. Third: brother Tobias (Hans Löw) is supposed to be working on his PhD at home, while simultaneously taking care of the three kids while his wife Maren goes to work. He is the one who takes the train to visit the parents when their father falls from a ladder after attempting to hang up a bird house. His mother seems to have everything under control, even opening the house to workers for major renovations. Tobias searches for professional household help for his parents, although the last caregiver took off after having to cope with the father’s nasty disposition.
The film opens with all three siblings in a restaurant and then branches off into their individual lives. Mobile phones are always present, contrary to underlying music which is a relief, as the film slides along smoothly without unnecessary background music. The major theme seems to be massive loneliness among Stefan, Julia and Tobias, in spite of relatively good financial security. Perhaps their father’s injury will make them approach life differently and they will enjoy becoming more optimistic. Perhaps they will moan and be boring forever. All my Loving played in the Panorama section of the 2019 Berlinale, one of many films there which were partly financed by the Filmförderung Hamburg-Schleswig-Holstein. (Becky T.)