Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Everyone Else (GERMAN)

(Alle anderen)
Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Serendipity Rattles Solid Relationship of Couple Vacationing in Sardinia

German yuppies Chris (Lars Eidinger) and Gitti (Birgit Minichmayr) are happy with each other, despite being as different as night and day, at least in terms of temperament. By profession, he’s a straitlaced architect who could stand to loosen up a little, while she’s a relatively-carefree publicist for rock and roll bands.
He’s also sort of self-conscious about his looks, particularly that widening, bald spot and the fact that he’s slowly losing what’s left of his hair. By contrast, gorgeous Gitti is fairly confident about her appearance, since her insecure boyfriend is fond of reminding her that she was the prettiest girl on the dance floor the night they met in the disco.
At the point of departure of this deliberately-paced, character-driven, romance drama, we find the pair on holiday, staying alone at his parent’s luxurious villa on the exclusive Island of Sardinia, where their contrasting personas are all the more magnified. He’s worried about not being masculine enough and about not measuring up to the wild and crazy guy he senses Gitti prefers. She, on the other hand, assures her man that she loves him just the way he is, but wishes she could change herself to be more conventional to match his bourgeois behavior.
All this mutual earnestness is put to the test the day they accept an invitation to spend time with Chris’ colleague, Hans (Hans-Jochen Wagner), and his pregnant wife, Sana (Nicole Marischka). For not only are they obviously perfectly matched, but much more successful in their careers to boot.
So, socially-awkward Chris is unhappy about having dinner with them, certain it is likely to have a deleterious effect on his relationship with Gitti. What ensues over the course of the very eventful evening is a slow descent into depravity which proves impossible predict.
Written and directed by Maren Ade, Alle Anderen weaves a cleverly-concealed examination of the destructive power of petty jealousies. The goings-on at times feel almost more American than European, given the resolution of tensions via violence rather than more polite means. Sadly, such unfortunate consequences are plausible when Chris pours his heart out only to have Gitti misread his sincere feelings as acting.
Love in the time of lipstick on the collar!

Excellent (3.5 stars)
In German and Italian with subtitles.
Running time: 124 Minutes
Distributor: Cinema Guild

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