Love in Thoughts (2004) Poster

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7/10
A German tragedy in the era of Leopold and Loeb
Havan_IronOak6 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Paul (played by Daniel Brühl) and Günther (played by August Diehl) are school chums and best friends in 1927 Weimar Germany. Günther is gay and Paul is straight but has never slept with a woman. The two boys know each other's story and yet remain good friends.

Günther has invited Paul to his family's house outside Berlin and Paul has accepted, hoping to see Günther's sister Hilde again. Paul has met Hilde once before and she's made quite an impression on him. Hilde is a free spirit who believes that it's OK for a woman to have several lovers at once but she's never looked at Paul that way. She is much more fascinated with Hans a boy from a much lower class who works in the kitchen of a restaurant/dance club that she and Günther frequent. Problem is Günther is also in love with Hans.

Add to this somewhat incestuous, somewhat quadrangular love arrangement, the Leopold and Loeb philosophy of the day, throw in a weekend party of heavy drinking and absinthe use, top the whole thing off with a pistol that Günther has become fascinated with and you have a recipe for disaster.

The movie opens with Paul being interrogated after two of the party goers end up dead, so you know that this isn't going to be a happy story from the very start but watching these attractive young people as they meander through the events that lead up to this tragedy is fascinating.

This movie unfolds slowly and will not be to everyone's taste but there are images and moments that will linger with the patient viewer long after seeing the film. I especially like the way that Günther's homosexuality played a part in the story but didn't dominate it.. It was just one aspect of the overall course of events and was treated as just another fact of these people's lives.
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Interesting
Mattias Petersson20 November 2004
I saw this film recently at the Stockholm International Film Festival of 2004. More of a coincidence than deliberately i might add, since the premises of the film did not really seem to suit me. But being a sucker for German films (also always wanting to test my failing German language skills) i decided to give it a try, and i'm quite happy that i did.

Set in the decadent days of 1920's (or maybe 1930's?) Berlin, this is a story of world-weary rich teens looking for new kicks to make their life interesting. The two friends Günther and Paul go out one weekend to Günthers family's summer house, for partying and drinking. Troubled love is involved and soon things spiral out of control.

I did enjoy this film quite a lot. I'm sure the slow pace will put some people off, but i had no problem with it. I found the actors to be the films most prominent strength, many of them managed great performances. Also i found the lack of sex and nudity (in a film revolving mostly around love and sex) to be liberating. It never feels like exploitation.

The one thing that put me down a bit is that i don't really know what the film-makers wanted to say with this. We get a view of events happening, but where is the point of all these events? Perhaps that is for us to find out, but i still feel i would have liked some sort of closure. This is a small point though, and probably also something that won't bother most viewers. So i'm confident in recommending this to anyone interested in this kind of film. It's a nice period piece, and well worth watching if you are not put off by the somewhat slow pace.

I rate it 6/10.
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9/10
An incredibly beautiful drama about happiness and the essence of life
lyuba10 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Three words would best describe this movie - an incredibly beautiful drama! And although the director might've made a better use of the camera, this doesn't spoil the whole movie at all, for it has some very good actors and a brilliant story to boast with.

The most promising young actors of contemporary German cinema - Daniel Brühl (as Paul), August Diehl (as Günther) and Anna Marie Mühe (as Hilde) - all make wonderful performances and tell the story of extremely tangled relationships, where love and happiness, pain and rage twist and turn their lives.

Paul falls in love with Hilde, who, however, appreciates sex and fun more than love. At the time she seems to be much more interested in the ex-boyfriend of her brother - Günther, who himself is still in love with him, though, so, when the three of them decide to spend a weekend in their parent's summer house drinking and having fun and the ex eventually turns up, the passions simply get out of hand.

Substantial for the further development of the story is a suicide club, that Günther and Paul found, based on the idea that we can be really happy only once in our lives and afterwards we're punished for that one moment of immense happiness by having the bitter memory of it. And since they consider happiness to be the essence of life, they decide that once this moment is over, they should kill themselves and the person who took them their happiness/love away, as well, before they feel miserable. And Günther does that.

The beautiful scenery and the unobtrusive but still remarkable score make just the perfect finish to this beautiful story.

Some viewers might find the paste rather slow, but I think that this is the only way to really get close to the characters and understand their motives. In conclusion, I wouldn't recommend this extremely poetic movie to everyone, but only to those lovers of the European cinema, who would appreciate something very deep, sophisticated and demanding.
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8/10
The Exhilaration and Devastation of First Love
gradyharp22 October 2005
'Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken' ('Love in Thoughts'), while based on a true incident in Berlin in 1927, is a story about the confusion of adolescent hormonally driven needs and desires brought to the screen by director Achim von Borries based on a dramatization by Hendrik Handloegten, Annette Hess and Alexander Pfeuffer of the Steglitz Student murders. It is as much a tale of the decadent 20s in the Berlin that would breed the Nazi Party as it is a stirring thriller. And if think back to the times of this story, a similar theme was being played out in this country under the names of Leopold and Loeb! Strange crossover...

Paul (Daniel Brühl) is a student poet from a working class family who makes friends with Günther (August Diehl) who is a gay and wild romantic from the wealthy class. Their common thread is their sense of rebellion against their families and the need for Byronic defiance in a world they find shallow. The make a 'suicide pact' - that once they discover true happiness in love, and knowing that true love cannot be repeated, they will commit suicide. The two lads go to the country home for a weekend party of drinking and carousing. Günther brings along his love Hans (Thure Lindhardt), a kitchen worker clearly not in Günther's social class, who begins having a sexual liaison with Hilde (Anna Maria Mühe), Günther's lusty, superficial, hedonistic sister. Paul is in love with Hilde, but at the party he observes her acts of sexual freedom and turns to plain Elli (Jana Pallaske) for his initial sexual encounter. When Günther realizes he has lost Hans to Hilde, the options of the 'suicide pact' play out in a gruesome way. Paul is left to tell the story, later becoming a novelist (condemned by the Nazis and thrown into exile).

Achim von Borries manages to recreate this sick tale with all the feeling of Weimar decadence. It takes a while to get the characters straight, but once they are in place the development of each has a fearsome momentum. The young cast is excellent. It is refreshing to see a film that includes a gay main character whose sexuality is at the core of his life but at the same time the story is not focused on the gay character so much as being focused on all youth in a cumbersome time in history and in adolescent physiology! The film is in German with English subtitles and presents the actual events of the case in writing on the screen after the story is completed. Very Effective. Grady Harp
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9/10
A great German movie! I loved it!!!
big.jay16 February 2004
"Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken" is a fine made coming of age flick about a group young guys, who are playing with the Ideas of true love, the meaning of life and the question, if murder could be an expression of love. It tells a true story. And even if it set in the early 1930's, the questions and feelings witch are explored are timeless and that's why the movie is reaching us in our time and life. Daniel Brühl (good bye Lenin) and August Diehl (23) - both winner of the German actor-movie-award - playing their Part of the young feeling shaken men so touching and faithful, that you get to know, why they won their award. Brilliant Pictures, a great score, a touching story - a wonderful movie. This kind is a rare thing.
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9/10
melancholic, poetic and so beautiful
annim-117 February 2004
"Was nuetzt die Liebe in Gedanken" is a very slow and intense film . The camera is awesome and the actors are doing a really good job. Although the film is set in the 1920th its focus is not set on historic details but on the timeless story of young men being in love. It's based on real incidents - Paul and his friend Guenther are in love. Paul with Guenther's sister and Guenther with his sisters boyfriend. Because they feel that their love will not be repeated they decide that once both are happy - they are going to commit suicide. During the whole movie there is that dark feeling creeping through the extremley beautiful pictures. It's a truly wonderful sad and elegant movie about unfulfilled love and the confusion of youth.
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8/10
Tortured Youth
robertconnor27 November 2006
In Weimar Germany, school friends Paul and Günther travel to Günther's parents' summer house outside Berlin, full of plans for a drink-fuelled weekend of hedonism. Joining Günther's sister Hilde, a cocktail of unrequited sexual desire, boredom and indolence leads to tragedy.

Beautifully filmed and superbly acted film in the traditions of Gatsby and Brideshead. From an adult point of view, the idea of youth asking 'is that all there is'? is at once both trite and unsettling. Cleverly, von Borries creates a world devoid of adults, where thoughts and feelings are heightened to the point of delirium, and he is well served by his three leads - Diehl and Mühe in particular are captivating as the spoiled and indulgent brother and sister. A heady exploration of privileged, destructive youth.
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German Cinema on a high international level
Visby13 March 2004
First of all: I really enjoyed this movie. I found it great. Secondly: Yes, there are a few points you might want to critisise. The question is: Do you really care about these points? The pros definitely overweight the contras though.

It was one of those movies I felt comfortable with from the first second on. It is slow, it is poetic and you have that constant feeling of melancholy and sadness surrounding you. It is kept in amazingly filmed pictures. The soundtrack simply stunned me. Not to mention the three main characters. It is nothing like any other german movie I have ever seen and I never felt like watching a german movie because it is made on an international, hollywood-like level (meant in a true positive sense!).

To give any movie the label `based on a true story' is always a bit cheap. But I generously forget about that and enjoy `a story of two young men, lost in love and life'. Yes - clothes, haircuts and make ups might not (fully) correspond to what it was really like in the 1920ies. Their lifestyle shown and the emancipated way women behave, might have been to advanced for that time. But I just don't know. I could imagine wealthy people to behave like this, in the roaring Twenties, after World War I.

If you like slow, poetic movies - you should give it a try. It very much reminded of `lost and delirious', it has got a bit of `dead poets society' and (the calm, peaceful moments in) `the thin red line'.

But if you expect another of those `typical' german movies produced in the last few years (which I find great too) and which mostly have similar plots and a similar character, you might feel in the wrong spot.
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10/10
Very intensive movie!!!
hartmutstiller15 February 2004
This movie is very intensive. Two very good actors - Daniel Brühl and August Diehl -, a grandiose camera and a mood-laden director presents us one early film-highlight of 2004! Everything is right in this movie, even the music from the 20ths. I think it is a must!
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Slightly Pretentious Euro-Drama
Crap_Connoisseur27 January 2006
"Love In Thoughts" is a beautifully made, yet ultimately pretentious, German drama based on an event in the life of the author, Paul Krantz (who published under the name of Ernst E. Noth).

The film focuses on Paul's friendship with Guenter and his love for Guenter's sister, Hilde. This scenario is further complicated by the fact that Hilde is having an affair with Hans, a man that Guenter also loves. Paul and Guenter discuss taking their own lives, and those of their lovers, when their love has reached "it's zenith". Over the course of a weekend, Paul and Guenter are rejected by the objects of their affection and they reach the point where they have to decide whether or not to go through with their murder/suicide pact.

My biggest objection to the film is the treatment of Paul and Guenter's fatalistic view of love. Their actions are treated as grandiose and tragic. Personally, I'm not sure what is particularly heroic or romantic about two losers who turn homicidal/suicidal when their imaginary lovers reject them. This problem is compounded by the fact that Hilde and Hans are so unappealing. Hilde is the town bike, who not only disrespects her brother's emotions but is also rude to her best friend. Hans, on the other hand, is a chef with bad teeth, who doesn't appear to have anything going for him at all.

Despite the film's general pretentiousness and self importance, it does have many things to offer. Firstly, the actors. I enjoyed Daniel Bruehl's portrayal of Paul. He is a little bit pouty but the subtlety of his performance is a huge relief in comparison to August Diehl's hammy turn as Guenter. The film offers the chance to view another fine actor in Thure Lindhardt, who plays the creepy Hans. Furthermore, the film looks absolutely fantastic. The cinematography is stunning. The landscape is captured beautifully and a scene in which the teenagers get high on absinthe is wonderful filmed.

This is an accomplished film but by no means a great one. Despite its significant beauty, "Love In Thoughts" is ultimately hollow and insubstantial.
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4/10
My love for this film is theoretical at best
Warning: Spoilers
"Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken" or "Love in Thoughts" is a German movie from over 10 years ago that stars Daniel Brühl and August Diehl, the possibly two biggest players in terms of the New German Wave of cinema in the 21st century. Anna Maria Mühe (daughter of Ulrich) and Jana Pallaske play the major female parts, both fairly well known, at least here in Germany. The film is based on real happenings between the two World Wars, which is maybe the biggest reason to watch it. Sadly, it is also almost the only reason as I have to say I was not too impressed by Achim von Borries' script and direction in this one. Brühl and Diehl have given better portrayals in better movies too.

Two best friends make a pact to kill those who broke their hearts and commit suicide afterward, but only one of them sticks to the plan. This is in theory a pretty interesting plot, but unfortunately the movie loses itself in all kinds of love triangles and apart from a couple scenes early on and the final showdown, there really isn't too much in this film about the aforementioned pact. I cannot say I really cared for the characters or with whom they were in love, which really hurt my overall perception of the film. I also felt that the fact that this plays in the 1920 could have played a bigger role in terms of political situation or general inclusions other than costumes and set decorations. Of course, it should not have been about this at the core, but still I think it may have helped the film to have a little more emphasis on the time during which it was set. Overall, I do not recommend the watch. I thought this would be better and I am actually glad this was such a short film, only runs for 80 minutes (without credits).
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A gloomy and dark story
Gordon-1115 November 2015
This film tells the story of five young men and women who are in a complicated web of love and attraction. They go away for a weekend of supposed relaxation, but alcohol fuels them to a realm that they never thought they would go.

The synopsis did not prepare me for the gloomy and dark theme of "Love in Thoughts". Who would have thought a few teenagers having some fun would lead to such disastrous consequences? I guess when affection is not reciprocated, the mind goes crazy and judgement is severely impaired. In this story, unfortunately most of the characters suffer from this. The story portrays love and jealousy very well, and I could really feel the characters' pain. It is sad that there was a lethal weapon available in the house. Otherwise things might have turned out differently.
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4/10
German sleeping pill
Recent years the German cinema did surprisingly well with some unexpected successes and this movie "Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken" tries to profit from this revelation but in no way it can be a contender. This story (based on a true facts) has already been filmed in the 20's and a second one during the 60's, but now director Achim von Borries claims that this is the definite version (what else could he say, anyway?). Everything is set in the twenties which was a good time for Germany as there was no sight from the dark forces that were to come. It was also the days of the rise of psychology and some youngsters (the most famous actor among them is Daniel Brühl who is appearing in almost every German film there is made these days) are building up their "suicide-club". The rules are simple but hard. Love is the only reason to live, love is the only reason to die for and therefore life must end if there's no love to be found and those who have betrayed that love will be taken in death as well. The love is at its most free vision as there is both homosexuality (which was back then immoral) and even incest. Von Borries could have made a very interesting film with this but it looked like it was more a trip into poetry rather than coming up with good cinema. The dialogs are far too bland, the acting sucks and it's filmed with such an uninteresting eye that it sets the viewer asleep. German cinema has found its reincarnation today but this film doesn't belong to that current wave.
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4/10
Not at all what I expected
flugscheibenwerfer22 February 2004
I mostly agree with the reviewer who said that this is a "bad German" film. I came to expect a lot more from Daniel Brühl and August Diehl; Good Bye Lenin, Lichter, Vaya Con Dios and Das Weiße Rauschen showed that these two can REALLY play! The film left me quite indifferent and that really should not have been the case considering the story. The characters where so flat that I didn't really bother what happened to them. I have to disagree with the above quoted review in one point though. I thought that this was wholly different from a TV production cause the cinematography was really beautiful and stylish at times.

Before the main film they showed the short film "True" by Tom Tykwer and strangely enough there was much more life in the 10 minutes of that film than in the 95 minutes of Liebe in Gedanken. You really shouldn't walk out of the theatre only capable of thinking about the pre-movie...
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1/10
Boring, and completely miscast
berlinmitte27 February 2004
Oh my, I don't know where to begin. This movie was so unbelievably bad...First, the casting sucked a lot. Daniel Brühl and Jana Pallaske just aren't teens from the 1920s, they look like standard germans from today. The whole "party" looked like they were cast right from Berlin Mitte, with their 70s retro hairdo. Big No No! The most emberassing moment was the one where a "DJ" (??!!) started scratching on an old grammophone. And it gets worse by the minute, the whole plot is boring, badly written and poorly directed. The only highlights are Anna Maria Mühe and August Diehl, but they can't save this boring wreck from sinking. If you really want to see this movie rent it. It's not worth your $$ at the box office.
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1/10
Bad Germany Movie
Gnislew10 February 2004
"Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken" is an awful German movie. "Good Bye Lenin" star Daniel Brühl should not do this movie. A boring story is paired with dumb dialogs and a very stupid ending. This film is definitely just a movie for die-hard german movie fans. It is just on the same level as a german TV production and should not shown in cinemas across Germany. I hope that this one will never be shown in cinema across Europe or in the USA!
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