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On the DVD box here is a press quote stating that this is "the best German comedy of the year". And it's classified by IMDb as a comedy. Although this is only true in the traditional Greek sense of "dramatic play", because it's about as hilarious as an amputation. Not in the sense that it tries to be funny but isn't, but in that it was never intended to be funny.
The movie's accolade is that it's a fairly realistic portrayal of a modern family. Both parents are working (or trying to work) and have to compromise between professional and family life. The wife actually has decided to pursue her career and, like a 1950ies dad in reverse, has to face the music that she has lost touch with her children. The husband is doing great as a father, but misses having a professional life of his own.
The couple has hired an au pair so that the husband (Charly Hübner) can take off time from the kids. Typically for the somewhat cumbersome style of the director, Robert Thalheim, the parents work as medical doctor and theatre director -- this is the type of movie where everyone has dream jobs, lives in designer vintage flats and never worries about money. However the au pair has problems of her own so that she can't take care of the children. (Equally, this is the type of movie where the parents concern themselves with the au pair's problems rather than parting ways with her). The hidden rifts and tears between the couple are beginning to show -- will they be able to carry on as a family? The movie is interesting and has great actors, which are able to compensate for the slightly histrionic and pompous style of the director. It would have been refreshing if the au pair would have been more of an antipode to the parents, maybe a lazy, conceited, selfish cow who sends the well-laid plans of our modern-day dream couple to wrack and ruin.
Just don't expect a comedy.
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Get to know the fractured films of Yorgos Lanthimos, director of Oscar-nominee The Favourite. And join us here for the IMDb LIVE at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, streaming at 7:30 p.m. EST/4:30 p.m. PST on Sunday, Feb. 24.