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"Hilde" is a German movie from 2009. It runs for over 2 hours and is among the most known works by director Kai Wessel and writer Maria von Heland. The movie received a good deal of awards attention at the German Film Awards back then, even if it was just in the visual categories. Actually, it lost all four categories to Haneke's Oscar-nominated "Das weiße Band". This film we have here is the most known Hildegard Knef biopic. Knef was among Germany's most known singers, actors and entertainers from the 20th century. The title character is played by Heike Makatsch (one of her career-defining turns), still one of Germany's most known stars abroad even if I cannot really see why. Downton Abbey fans will see a familiar face playing one of the central male characters, which is a bit surprising as it's a German production of course. But I guess they wanted to give the movie some international flair this way. Anyway, German film buffs will also recognize many other actors here, such as Bleibtreu, Pütter, Gwisdek, Zischler or Groth. The late musician Roger Cicero appears in it as well.
I think overall it was a decent watch. There were some weaknesses that were slightly expected because the movie tries to be too significant for its own good at times and the talent did not match the ambition there. This becomes especially visible when politics are referenced. Of course, Knef lived during the days of World War II and the Berlin Wall, but the ways in which they rushed it in felt really clumsy and just included for the sake of it. It was not effective. Makatsch does an okay job overall, not too bad, but not great either and I think she was a good choice for the main character, also physically. The music is fine too if you like Knef as an artist and it was a really good decision to go out with her most known work at the very end. This film came out not much later after Cotillard won her Oscar for playing Edith Piaf and maybe you could see Knew as the German Piaf in terms of her approach to life and music and also in terms of her style, so I think it may be possible that this French film's success inspired the crew to make this biopic we have here.
Anyway, back to this movie here: The film is at its best when it does not try to be over-the-top dramatic or relevant and just focuses on Knef's personal and professional life. Those scenes were sometimes really good. But then there are also letdowns on many occasions again, such as the quotes thrown in there randomly. Yes they may come from Knew herself, but this inclusion just wasn't working at all. The film is based on Knef's autobiography by the way and this makes it also worth seeing. You will certainly learn a lot about her life if you decide to give it a go. It's your choice if you want to. Final side-note: The late Knef would have turned 91 next week and I really wonder if she would have liked this movie. I did, but not with too much enthusiasm. I give it a cautious thumbs-up, but I believe it could easily have been under 2 hours without losing any quality if they had done without some of the less significant scenes.
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