A Heavy Heart (2015) Poster

(2015)

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7/10
Poignant and Moving
Raven-19698 November 2015
Covered in tattoos, nicknamed "the Panzer" (the German word for tank), famous as a former East German boxing champion, and earning income based solely upon his muscles and bulk, Herbert is not someone you want to mess with. With few friends beyond the young boxer he is mentoring, a tattoo artist and Olga his angelfish, the Panzer lives a solitary and isolated life in apparent bachelor bliss. Even the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) hardly slows Herbert down. He treats ALS as just another physical adversary.

As Herbert drifts into total paralysis and it becomes clear who the victor in "Panzer versus ALS" is going to be, Herbert tries to make amends with the daughter he abandoned many years ago. This battle, like that with ALS, can't be won with his fists and Herbert finds himself in unfamiliar and unfathomable territory in more ways than one. While slow-paced and dark, the film is poignant and moving as a punch to the gut. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015.
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6/10
Very strong lead performance, solid otherwise
Horst_In_Translation10 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Herbert" is a German movie that had its world premiere last year and hit cinemas recently here in Germany. It runs for 110 minutes and is the story of a man in the last year of his life. we witness how things get worse and worse when he id diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. Herbert was a really successful boxer in East Germany decades ago and now he lives his life training boxing prospects and collecting money for dubious businessmen and some violence is included in this business as well. The writer and director is Thomas Stuber and it is his second (not first as some say) full feature film. Other than that he has worked mostly on short films and television now. And "Herbert" is also by far his biggest success now. It finished second at the German Film Awards behind the big winner of the night "Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer" and lead actor Peter Kurth won his category surprisingly over Burghart Klaußner. And while I like Klaußner a lot too, I must say that Kurth is equally deserving. He is the driving force in here that makes it all work and I was genuinely interested in what would happen next to his character. The film is not much shorter than two hours and it never dragged. I believe it was a bit generic at times and there were situations where it could have been better in terms of making a real lasting statement on the illness. I also felt that the female love interest to Herbert added almost nothing to the movie. The story about his daughter and granddaughter was more interesting, even if that one felt also slightly generic at times. But overall, the good outweighs the bad thanks to Kurth mostly. This is one of the better German films of the year and I recommend checking it out.
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8/10
A great movie!
anmikon-868-35403420 March 2019
This is an excellent movie. Especially Peter Kurth's acting is simply sensational! Decent, i believe, the performances of the others. But, what we have here is a complete universe. And the protagonist is that universe. Without reaching the limits of melodrama, Kurth Peter manages to perform up to the ultimate detail all stages of his terrifying paralysis. This is not easy and we have not seen it many times with such success. The Director adequately unfolds the escalating intensity and the drama and you simply cannot remain unaffected. A movie uneasy but worth to watch!
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8/10
Gone soft
kosmasp4 April 2019
Do you sometimes wonder what individuals would risk their own body to just collect money for someone else? Maybe that's the only thing they know how to do. The only thing they know they are good at. But in this case, the character who is front and center stage has to reflect on what he has been doing. And the things he missed on doing.

When a life event that is rather big hits him, things fall apart. Then again, maybe this is finally a way for him to see things clearer. Is it too late though? Can he find inner peace? Or outer peace for that matter? It is not so much about where he is heading (inevitable) but the journey there. And how he handles himself being robbed of the one thing he thought made him stand apart ...
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7/10
Strong, powerful movie.
RatedVforVinny19 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A very moving and touching drama from Germany. Concerns a hard Boxing trainer and debt collector, that suddenly falls down to an aggressive degenerate disease (ALS). This tragic situation forces him to examine every aspect of his life and forge bonds with estranged loved ones. I loved the movie, which skilfully avoids sentimentality but was disturbed by the magnitude and overwhelming weight of his plight.
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