4 user 5 critic
A man who loses a very personal part of his body to cancer decides he wants it back in this offbeat black comedy.


Robert Schwentke
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Tattoo I (2002)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two police detectives, a grizzled veteran and one fresh-faced rookie, hunt a ritualistic serial killer murdering people with tattoos and skinning them.

Director: Robert Schwentke
Stars: August Diehl, Christian Redl, Nadeshda Brennicke
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A working class man who, tired of being the victim of criminals, decides to take justice in his own hands.

Director: Alejandro Fernández Almendras
Stars: Daniel Candia, Alejandra Yañez, Daniel Antivilo
Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An unemployed ex-bureaucrat by day becomes mentor to two young vigilantes at night.

Director: Andreas Kleinert
Stars: Hilmar Thate, Cornelia Schmaus, Henriette Heinze
5x2 (2004)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Five stages in the romance between a woman and a man.

Director: François Ozon
Stars: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Stéphane Freiss, Françoise Fabian
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two very different brothers get together for a temporary stay in a Japanese zen monastry. The trip from Germany to Japan brings up some unexpected quests they have to manage. Soon both ... See full summary »

Director: Doris Dörrie
Stars: Uwe Ochsenknecht, Gustav-Peter Wöhler, Petra Zieser
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona meets the exotic, pampered Tamsin. Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together.

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Stars: Natalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A selfish playboy enamored by a woman he seems to hurt more than he intends begins to understand a deeper meaning to their relationship.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

One night, a group of workers discover their factory is being dismantled by the same administration that runs it. Quickly, the labourers organize themselves in order to occupy the plant.

Director: Pedro Pinho
Stars: José Smith Vargas, Carla Galvão, Njamy Sebastião
Pirosmani (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of self-taught Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani.

Director: Giorgi Shengelaia
Stars: Avtandil Varazi, Dodo Abashidze, Zurab Kapianidze
Humanité (1999)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When an 11-year-old girl is brutally raped and murdered in a quiet French village, a police detective who has forgotten how to feel emotions--because of the death of his own family in some kind of accident--investigates the crime, which turns out to ask more questions than it answers.

Director: Bruno Dumont
Stars: Emmanuel Schotté, Séverine Caneele, Philippe Tullier
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Story of a friendship between an eccentric journalist and a daredevil barnstorming pilot.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone
Heaven! (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Stolen mafia money and utter greed make two men fight for their lives in the hot and lonely California desert.

Director: Robert Schwentke
Stars: Al Alvarez, Mitch Brian, Luis Contreras


Credited cast:
Wotan Wilke Möhring ... Martin Schwarz
Julia Hummer Julia Hummer ... Susanne
Antoine Monot Jr. ... Harry
Alexander Beyer ... Roman Schwarz
Janek Rieke ... Nickel
Doris Schretzmayer ... Schwester Elke
Götz Schubert ... Dr. Bofinger
Fatih Cevikkollu Fatih Cevikkollu ... Pfleger
Marie Gruber Marie Gruber ... Gabriele Schwarz
Thomas Thieme Thomas Thieme ... Hans Schwarz
Leander Haußmann ... Winnie
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mirko Borscht Mirko Borscht ... Neuer Patient des Dr. Bofinger
Jürgen Brandschedel Jürgen Brandschedel ... Herr Körner
Claudia Bratfisch Claudia Bratfisch ... Frau Körner
Victor Calero Victor Calero ... Patient Eins


A man who loses a very personal part of his body to cancer decides he wants it back in this offbeat black comedy.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site [Germany]





Release Date:

22 January 2004 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Családi ékszerek See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Writer/director Robert Schwentke survived testicular cancer himself. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Jewel" of a film
15 September 2003 | by thompoeSee all my reviews

I had the good fortune of seeing the German comedy `Eierdiebe' (English title: `Family Jewels') at the 2003 Kansas City Film Fest. It was `good fortune' in more ways than one because I was fortunate to get one of the last seats in the theater before the house sold-out. I can't report how `Family Jewels' might `play in Peoria,' but Kansas City is damn near to Peoria, and I can tell you that it grabbed the packed-house from the get-go, and didn't let go until the end credits, when the audience gave it a rousing ovation.

The enthusiasm the audience displayed came as something of a surprise only because the storyline is not exactly an old-fashioned `Andy Hardy' comedy.

Imagine an Andy Hardy comedy (in German with subtitles, at that!) where Andy has his life-turned upside-down when he loses one of his gonads to testicular cancer, then undergoes Chemo, leading to a madcap chase through the nether world of a cancer ward to retrieve his lost `family jewel.' I'm not kidding, all that happens, and more!

Needless to say, `Family Jewels' is a `dark comedy' that goes where few, if any, films have dared to go! (Maybe that's not too surprising, since the filmmaker, Robert Schwentke, also made the critically praised `Tattoo' -- one of the darkest `noir killer-thrillers' around - "Tattoo" raised the stakes of `Seven' to eights and nines.)

With `Family Jewels,' Schwentke is in an equally dark place, but in a decidedly more light-hearted mood. Perhaps that's because (according to the program notes handed out at the Festival) the film is `semi-autobiographical -- Mr. Schwentke has indeed prevailed over testicular cancer.

In any event, a potentially `exploitive' subject that could have been played for crude laughs becomes an uproariously funny, but always life-affirming testament to the human spirit.

I think it was the film's affirmation of life that won over the Midwestern audience. In less capable hands, the story could have easily been an example of `gross-out' humor, but instead, it manages the nearly impossible task of looking death square in the eye, and letting go a big wad of spit!

In the Middle Ages, such `spiting in the face of death' was called `Easter Laughter" and I think that's what the Kansas City audience was cheering.

Yeah, they laughed a lot at the gallows humor, but even more, the film gave the audience the chance to join Schwentke's in his own `Easter Laugh' in the face of our common mortality without pandering to either Pollyanna optimism, or giving into a mean-spirited, bitter irony? In that, Schwentke is closer to Camus and Marcel, than to Sartre. (Since Schwentke is a German filmmaker, it's probably saying something that I was more reminded of the French existentialists than their Teutonic cohorts.)

With `Tattoo,' Schwentke proved he could make dark thrillers with the best of the `shock-meisters.' With `Family Jewels' he reveals himself to be even more in- tune to the humanist film tradition of Jean Renoir, DeSica, and Truffaut.

Well, it would be exaggerated praise to compare `Family Jewels' to, say, `Grand Illusion' or `Bicycle Thief' -- thought the film invites some comparisons to both. The cancer ward is not unlike a `prisoner-of-war' camp where categories such as race, class, and gender prove to be foolish "illusions." And the sense of loss of our hero's "family jewel," and his determination to recover that loss, did reminded me (however perversely) of `The Bicycle Thief" -- Schwentke's film is, most of all -- and in the profoundest sense -- a deeply felt film about `loss.'

If Schwentke's film brings to mind the great "humanist" filmmakers, it's in the small moments of the film, when he extends a scene a few seconds beyond the `usual' conclusion to add an unexpected `grace note' - as when a seemingly hard-as-nails doctor or nurse, who've appeared to be Nurse Ratched-like stock- characters, display (out-of-sight of their cancer patients) the grief-process they have come to hide, but always live with -- or in the extended camera time the filmmaker gives to the hero's hopelessly bourgeois mother and father who appears incapable of communicating any sense of the enormity of the situation. But then, Swekenke holds his camera steady a second longer than we expect, to capture their private, silent screams, and unvoiced prayers.

It's quite a remarkable movie. I hope you get to see it. It's a `jewel' to be treasured.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed