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Learning to Lie More at IMDbPro »Liegen lernen (original title)

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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

A chick film for guys (and chicks)

Author: puckhead95 from Long Beach, CA
20 May 2004

I saw this at the 2004 Palm Springs Film Fest. It's not a great film, that would likely garner many awards. But for its fairly light-hearted veneer this one was a real charmer. And though it's not addressing any really significant issues to any great depth, there were some "secrets" that seemed to be buried just beneath the generally warm fuzzy surface. Although it covers a lot of the same ground that's been covered in 17,842 other films "Liegen Lernen" does it in a way that's a little less smarmy or girlie-mushy.

Most "chick films" or romantic comedies center on the female lead or on both the female and male lead. It was refreshing to see the focus in this one be almost exclusively from the male perspective. But don't let that stop you if you're one of the fairer sex.

Some might think it's a cheap shortcut but Helmut's narration voice-over gives you a chance to really get inside his head. The conflict in his head that pulls him between typical adolescent male behavior - even beyond adolescence - and enlightened adulthood is clearer and presented in a way that many guys can relate to.

The characters and Helmut's relationships with them are realistic ones that people on both sides of the Atlantic can relate to: small, manageable circles of high school friends; college and young adult years spent with an odd assortment of roommates; old friends found, even if briefly; and, of course, a variety of loves that sometimes intersect but somehow all seem to be the driving force in one's life.

It's funny without reverting to gross out gags - though there's nothing wrong with them, as a rule. It's touching without feeling like an afterschool special. It's insightful without being overbearing. The soundtrack with a seemingly intentional absence of soaring violins and goofy pop love songs is appropriate as well.

On the whole, this is a well-balanced movie that leaves you feeling like, "Why can't more films be like this one?"

Like most non-U.S. produced films, this one is probably difficult if not impossible to find in the U.S. but if you can, rent/buy/borrow it.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

The one who got away

Author: from Canada
5 March 2005

This movie was not very romantic or funny, but it got one point across wonderfully- waiting for the one who got away will screw you over (and all those eligible human bodies around you). In this case, it's the guy that pines over his idyllic first love... in Germany!! Oh so romantic!.. the gray.. dark blue.. coal smelling.. EAST Germany. ;) Nevertheless, your night vision adjusts and the movie gets better.

I really appreciate that the movie deals with men's issues, such as the way they view romantic relationships and how they, even though it's hard to admit, contract and repeat unhealthy patterns in their life. Not the glamorous Haley-Davidson, Mr. Jack Daniels type of masculinity, but the one that lurks beneath the Common Jerk, who (as we all know) cries at night into his pillow, trapped inside his own head.

In essence,this film is for both blocks&birds.. but you gotta to be ready for the presentation. It dissects most common Bf/Gf types and serves them up like a tech assistant at a biology lab. Imagine sugar-free, sunshine-free version of "Before the Sunset" as told by a guy who could actually exist... I loved it.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Seems generic at a glance, and yet...

Author: daniel_zx_zhang from Sydney, Australia
30 October 2004

Instead of taking the very much abused formula of two individuals finding each other in an unlikely relationship through some unbelievable twist of fate, with the relationship triumphing romantically in the end against all odds, this film is more or less a look at the progression towards emotional maturity for one man.

It begins with the main character running from *another* romantic commitment - one of many, the audience is told, in his life. He takes us back in time in a series of flashbacks to various pivotal moments of his romantic life, starting with his stunning high school sweetheart and first love. I must admit I was rolling my eyes in despair when the flashbacks began but I was surprised - in a good way.

Many elements are clichéd, the acting adequate, the directing and cinematography passable, and when viewed from a strictly academic point of view, there is nothing particularly unique about the style of film-making. However, the film manages to stand out among the sea of intercloned features within its genre. Save for perhaps the slight predictability of some parts, there aren't too many glaring flaws. The dialogue was witty (at least the subtitle was), the characters likable despite their imperfections, and the use of musical soundtrack was effective. I voted 7/10, but I actually enjoyed quite a bit more than that. *guilty pleasure*

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Trying out relationships

Author: coyets from Hamburg, Germany
4 May 2006

'Liegen lernen', which could be translated as learning to lie down, is the story of Helmut, played rather dryly by Fabian Busch, during that period of life when one tries out relationships until one decides what one wants from life. Although the political developments leading up to and after the unification of Germany are kept audibly and visibly as a recurring feature, they are only a backdrop to the tale, and do not form or even affect the plot.

Because of the dryness of Helmut's character, the voice-overs throughout the film are necessary for the viewer to get an insight into his personality and development. Whilst there have been many more interesting lead characters, the realistic handling of the feelings and conflicts of this crucial phase of personality building makes the unfolding of the plot somewhat fascinating.

The same story with identical characters of both sexes could have been told in any city or larger town in any modern country, but at least the changes in East Berlin add an extra deepness to the drama of economic progress, which in the context of this film are kept even more moderate as I personally have experienced in West Germany.

The film is directed by Hendrik Handloegten, but, as in many Rainer Werner Fassbinder films, especially 'Berlin Alexanderplatz', whilst the male roles are convincing, the female roles do not quite seem to fit into the background in which the events take place. They are fun to watch, but simply not realistic enough to be convincing. Britta, played by Susanne Bormann, lights up the screen and enhances the entertainment value even more than Gisela, played by Fritzi Haberlandt, and the others.

The pace is sometimes too slow, and, although the female characters are in some ways too extreme, in other aspects they fail to generate as much contrast as those in 'L'Homme qui aimait les femmes' or even 'Dr T and the Women'. However, this is understandable because this film is not attempting to portray the infinite variety of the female character in modern society, merely following a particular man's life in an important period of his life.

The film is entertaining, but fails to make the most of the dramatic possibilities.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

about a man growing up

Author: Leon Labbé from Wiehl, Germany
20 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie begins in the Berlin of the nineties, but it goes back to a deeper past: the eighties. For all those who have lived through this decade, it´s a journey back in time. A journey that seems quite realistic due to the excellent equipping of the movie.

The story is about a young man growing up, about his learning to love.

But this takes its time... In the beginning he is a romantic lover, only interested in his true love, Britta. When she splits with him, he grows cynical,learns to use women for his his sexual satisfaction. By chance he meets Britta again and sees how she has changed. In this moment he loses a dream, but he is not yet ready to realise it.

He gets bored with his changing relationships and decides to look for a woman he might grow old with. Luck has it he finds her soon, but still he is not able to really love her. When she wants to have children with him, he simply runs away, goes to Berlin, and meets Britta again. Instinctively, he does the right thing: he "kills" his dream...

At this moment we´re not only back at the beginning of the movie but at the start of his new life.

Personally, I think it was nice to see, how the story is pushed forward, to see the moments of insight that decide about his personal development. The acting is fine and if you can identify with the main character, you really get caught.

Comment of a female viewer: "It was nice to see a movie, in which men have feelings." That´s the point: the main character doesnot show his feelings to the people around him, but they are clear to the audience.

For all those who are old enough to have lived through the eighties and are interested in seeing how a young man becomes what he is, this movie is highly recommended.

9 out 10.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very good ensemble work! (Mild spoilers)

Author: GrainOfSalt from Germany
13 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Liegen lernen" did decent, not spectacular business at the box office (the problems of which I attribute to the rather odd promotion campaign and tag line that in my opinion did not attract the right audience). Henk Handloegten's second theatrical film as a director showcases him as a master "actors' director", working with a wonderful ensemble cast. Susanne Bormann shines as siren Britta with her very seductive yet somehow innocent play attitude towards love and the subsequent darker, more experienced and somber "shadow of her former self" in later years. Fabian Busch (Helmut) makes the transition from schoolboy to 30something with a bit of makeup, but mostly through changes in bearing and expressions. Fritzi Haberlandt is very convincing as the bourgeois girlfriend who is shattered by Helmut's careless unfaithfulness. A must see (especially for people whose adolescent years fall into the tumultuous early Eighties) and in general a very fine, timeless pic; painstakingly researched and effortlessly played. Kudos!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

nice little german movie, one of best regarding the last years

Author: Dreami from germany
20 August 2003

i was lucky to catch a sneak-preview of "liegen lernen" in a cinema in cologne, to be honest, i am not one of those german guys/girls, that love every movie made in our country, i really hate most productions, german movies suck ... so when i saw, that a german movie was on the screen when i joined the sneak, i was like "lets run away and get some drinks instead of wasting our time in here", but luckily, i did NOT do this...

The movie itself was very entertaining and in parts funny, but it had some real sensitive moments as well.

i dont want to write anything about the plot, go see it yourself, its worth it!

7.5/10 ( gave it 8 in rating system )

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Worth to look at, especially Susanne Bormann

Author: loohzee from Hoexter, Germany
1 August 2004

Had to watch this picture in DVD just because it is one of the few authentic and good German movies, like "Good-Bye Lenin". Good story, you have to know Bochum, and there's the unavoidable Berlin-part, a German combination of NYC and L.A., and an upright answer on "Where were you when the wall came down?". And most of all, it is a very German movie, not that kind of Hollywood-perfection. And Susanne Bormann plays an angel-role, "Britta". Believe it or not, playing an angel as a blonde seems to be the most difficult role (99 per cent of actresses just return "blonde"). And in the end come down to earth and become human, and join the connotations of Berlin and Britta, and leave them for real life. Keep "1 Angel" in mind. See this film and never "Soloalbum".

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