Das Pferd auf dem Balkon (2012) Poster

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Great choice for children and adults
Horst_In_Translation22 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I strictly oppose the view that a film is particularly or exclusively suitable for children just because it has a child actor in the lead role and couple more kids in the supporting parts. "Das Pferd auf dem Balkon" or "A Horse on the Balony" is a movie for the whole family. It is based on the book with the same name written by author Milan Dor. I have not read this piece, so I'm judging this film exclusively from the movie's standpoint without paying attention to how the book was adapted or what scenes may have been added or omitted.

The central character Mika, very convincingly portrayed by Enzo Gaier, is suffering from Asperger's syndrome and I liked a lot how they depicted the impact the illness has on his life, when it comes to communicating with his mother, his peers at school or the little Indian girl who enters his life. One day, he sees that one of the neighbors pets a fully-grown black stallion in his little apartment and feeds him with apples. From that moment on, Luca builds a special connection with the animal that has an impact on the severity of his illness in the long run. Of course, there's all the usual components from kids movies: funny actions involving minor characters like a taxi driver, the hilarious casino scene and a pair of truly scary antagonists. I liked how the woman who a couple rows further in front hugged her kids every time the villains appeared on the screen. It was a cute sight.

I definitely recommend this movie. If it's playing anywhere near you, it's an opportunity to take. The one thing that is really great about German (or I should say German-language, as this one's in fact Austrian) kids movies is that you will always find at least 1-2 really famous German actors in the cast. i watched Hanni&Nanni 3 earlier this year and was amazed how star-studded the cast was. This one has Nora Tschirner who has done Keinohrhasen with Til Schweiger, Soloalbum with Schweighöfer and a couple more films that went well beyond German borders in terms of popularity. Another appreciated addition to the cast is veteran actress Bibiane Zeller, who's well into her 80s by now and delivered one of the highlights for adult viewers when she told Tschirner's character to take the money as her and her son are pretty much all she has these days and she doesn't want to take the money to the grave. My eyes turned a bit wet in that scene, but go see for yourself. I think this movie could have been released closer to Christmas as the ending takes place during the holidays (or maybe they'll run it for another 2-3 months) and it's probably an even better watch for mid-December, but even right now it makes for a truly entertaining and heartfelt 90 minutes, especially if your kids love horses.
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