|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Genre:||Tragicomedy, Drama, Comedy|
|Production country:||Deutschland 2013|
|Running time:||Approx. 115 min.|
Once upon a time Paul Averhoff (Dieter Hallervorden) was a very great marathon runner, who even won Olympic gold in 1956. But those days are long gone. In the meantime, his muscles are tired, his bones are heavy and his hearing doesn't really want to anymore. But Paul doesn't want to be relegated to the sidelines just because of that. But after his wife Margot (Tatja Seibt) falls several times, even stubborn Paul has to realize that they need help - help that their daughter Birgit (Heike Makatsch) can't give them, if only because of her job as a flight attendant. Reluctantly, Paul moves into the old people's home for Margot's sake. But singing and handicrafts are nothing for the former Olympic champion. Instead of being treated like a rebellious child by the caretaker Mrs. Müller (Katharina Lorenz) or being treated with hostility by the rule-conscious resident Rudolf (Otto Mellies) because of his critical remarks, Paul prefers to unpack his old running shoes and do his rounds in the park. He is quickly gripped by the old fever, which finally breaks out when he beats the cheeky nurse Tobias (Frederick Lau) in a duel. Now Paul wants to do it again and plans to participate in the Berlin Marathon - and of course to win. But not only the dogged head nurse Rita (Katrin Sass) doesn't like that at all.
The fact that he cast Dieter Hallervorden in the leading role of Sein letztes Rennen has to be credited to director Kilian Riedhof. Because it was to be feared that the actor and cabaret artist would still be so attached to his Didi image that this would distract from the intensity of his play and that the actual qualities of the film would be lost. And indeed, in the first seconds it can't be prevented that a silent Palim Palim shoots through your head at the sight of Hallervordern. But then both the leading actor and the direction manage to make Didi the comedian disappear completely from the audience's consciousness and Dieter Hallervorden becomes Paul Averhoff. And as such, he really delivers a stellar acting performance.
With a well-measured mix of humor and drama, the film manages to make its audience laugh and cry in equal measure. Even the great Steven Spielberg once said that this is what makes a good movie. But it's not just the emotional impact on the viewer that makes His Last Race such a worthwhile watch. Without being too forced or preachy, Riedhof manages to tell a truly beautiful story about the power of the human will, about aging with dignity and about great love, while at the same time making an amusingly biting commentary on the nursing crisis in Germany.
Sure, at times the characters are drawn a bit clichéd, but the actors make up for it with good performances and obvious enjoyment of the play. Also, the film could be accused that the dramaturgy sometimes takes somewhat predictable paths and could have been a little tighter in some places. These are all understandable points of criticism, but they don't change the positive overall picture the film leaves behind in the end. Kilian Riedhof, despite minor weaknesses, has simply succeeded in creating an all-around beautiful work that is full of quite wonderful little moments, but which evoke quite big emotions.
Although Sein letztes Rennen fits nicely into the line of numerous films from the last three years that are designed for a 50+ audience, not only older semesters will be able to take great pleasure in this tragicomedy. Anyone who appreciates German entertainment cinema of the slightly more sophisticated variety should do the same as Paul Averhoff, put on their running shoes and rush to the cinema! Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp