Opening February 6, 2020
Directed by: Wolfgang Gross
Writing credits: Robert Lohr
Principal actors: Maren Kroymann, Heiner Lauterbach, Barbara Sukowa, Dominic Raacke, Günther Maria Halmer
Karin (Maren Kroymann) finds retirement life with husband Harold (Günther Maria Halmer) boring. He works on his model trains and has cancelled their trip to New Zealand, saying that the same money could finance two stair lifts for their old age. Retired physician Gerhard’s (Heiner Lauterbach) partner has died and so has his dog; he needs new goals. Philippa (Barbara Sukowa) is a retired hippie living in a rundown trailer in a trailer park. Always full of life, she has solved the problem of loneliness and become the godmother of little Leonie (played by Julia and Luise Gleich – identical twins who share the role). They are always on the move, which appeals to Karen and Gerhard. Philippa connects them with parents seeking substitute grandparents. Karen takes on Jannik (Julius Weckauf) and Gerhard cares for Victor (Bruno Grüner), who has a Russian single mother. This changes the lives of both godparents and children. Jannik loves Karen’s “new” computer with built-in printer (typewriter). Gerhard supports Victor when he is bullied at school, telling him about his own childhood experiences with bullying. Karen suddenly has two godchildren as Jannik’s teenage sister Merle (Maya Lauterbach – in real life the daughter of actor Heiner Lauterbach) becomes involved. They sing the 1977 popular German song, “Über den Wolken Muss die Freiheit wohl grenzenlos sein“ (Above the clouds freedom is endless).
This comedy effectively connects not only the old with the young, but also the parents in the middle. They need help, but, at the same time, are reluctant to release control; they interfere with their own rules and opinions. The children are marvelous and should have had more screen time (which is wasted on a side story about Karin and Jannik’s father, Kai, having an affair). Still, it’s very amusing, and my audience laughed all the way through. Presently, grandparents seem to be a popular topic. A few weeks earlier the film Romys Salon opened, about a young girl caring for her demented grandmother. Also, a new musical premiered at the Hamburg Stage School: Zweimal um die Welt oder wohin will Oma (twice around the world or where is Grandma off to) with granny escaping caregivers for adventure, accompanied by pop songs from the 1970s and ‘80s. That’s enough: Now I must go and pick up all the Lego stones my grandkids left on my living room floor.)