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|Laufzeit:||Approx. 99 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
Christine (Christiane Paul) and Konrad (Charly Hübner) had planned everything perfectly: while she takes care of the young family financially as a future senior physician, he takes a professional break to be completely there for their daughters Käthe (Paraschiva Dragus) and Emma (Emilia Pieske). However, this only works well until Konrad receives the offer to work as a theatre director again. It is a great and perhaps his last chance, which he cannot miss. But although the young Argentinean Isabel (Clara Lago) is quickly found as an au pair to take care of the girls as long as the parents work, the double role as father and director quickly proves to be a real test for Konrad, especially as some of his actors are more childish and bitchier than his daughters. Moreover, Isabel is not the help the couple expected. The pressure on the family and on the relationship between Christine and Konrad grows with every day until Dad can't stand it any longer and takes a break from his family. A decision with far-reaching consequences…
As with "At the end come tourists" and "westerly winds filmmaker Robert Thalheim finds a successful balance between realistic drama and quiet comedy, between seriousness and a little loosening lightness in his latest directorial work "Eltern". The decision to let the story play at a point where the protagonists have long since (apparently) found their way into their parental role is especially praiseworthy. In this way Thalheim can avoid all the completely worn out clichés that young, always overtaxed film fathers otherwise have to deal with. Instead, he can concentrate on a problem that many parents can understand very well: returning to work after a longer parental leave and reconciling work and family life.
This is quite amusing at the beginning, especially since Charly Hübner as Konrad embodies a true dream father. Hübner makes it clear in a rather subtle, but absolutely comprehensible way that despite all the joy his daughters give him, this role does not fill him completely and that he still dreams of the great success as a theatre director. The interplay between him and Christiane Paul is very harmonious, which makes her very credible as a well-rehearsed married couple. But the game between the two only becomes really strong when they move apart as a film couple and each has to go their own way.
Here Christiane Paul delivers some very strong moments when she has to realize that her professional success has led to an alienation with her ten-year-old daughter Käthe. How Christine desperately struggles to get closer to her daughter to give her the support she desperately needs in view of the family crisis is really very convincingly played. And also the two wonderful child actors deliver really great acting cinema.
What stands in the way of a completely positive overall impression is on the one hand the storyline around the au-pair Isabel. This part of the story seems a little bit constructed and stands in the way of the other stagings being close to reality. On the other hand, it should also be noted in "Eltern" that as a SWR/arte cooperation he has a very strong television film character. That certainly doesn't make it a worse movie, because "Eltern" is far away from that. The only question that arises is whether this work really must have been seen on the big screen or whether it will not also radiate the same intensity in a future TV broadcast or DVD release, which is much more favourable for the viewer. Nevertheless, there is no question that "Eltern" is a strongly played, very well staged and absolutely worth seeing movie for lovers of demanding German family dramas with only small weaknesses.
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