Before Tilda's parents can put her beloved grandfather in an old people's home due to his progressing Alzheimer disease, she takes him on one last adventure that subliminally threatens to tear her family apart.
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Its a story about a special love, the love between TILDA and her grandfather AMANDUS. Amandus has Alzheimers. He always was the bon vivant, the humorous and beloved head of the family now he starts acting like a child. Only the ten year old Tilda can deal with him and his disease she looks at it with the eyes of a child and a kind of humour and sensitivity that makes it easier to approach Amandus when he is lost in his new own world. This special connection approaches the disease in a humorous but emotional way, without forgetting about its tragedy.
Sentimental Study of the Effects of Alzheimer's Disease
I am surprised that so many other reviewers have taken exception to HÖNIG IM KOPF. The visual style of director/ star Til Schweiger takes a bit of getting used to (with fast intercuts between the characters, analogous to a pop video), but the action remains firmly protagonist-focused, especially on the relationship between Alzheimer's victim Amandus (Dieter Hallervorden) and his granddaughter Tilda (Emma Schweiger). The two of them remain close through thick and thin, even when Amandus appears to be losing his mind for good.
The subject-matter is difficult to dramatize, as anyone who has experienced the trauma of coping with an Alzheimer's victim will testify. Amandus means well, but it's clear that he cannot cope on his own; he has lost his sense of direction, and has little or no connection to the outside world. Neither Tilda's father Niko (Til Schweiger) nor her mother Sarah (Jeanette Hain) can really understand the nature of Amandus's condition, and hence it's hardly surprising that Sarah should frequently lose her temper on seeing the carnage that her father-in-law has caused.
The story takes a sentimental twist in the second half as Tilda and Amandus embark on an ambitious journey to Venice, where Amandus enjoyed his happiest days. Some of the plot-lines are highly implausible, especially in the way others treat Amandus, despite his medical condition. But perhaps that doesn't matter; we rejoice in the fact that the old man has a renewed purpose in life, which restores at least some of his connection to the outside world.
Shot throughout in bright colors, with a particular focus on the glorious landscapes of Austria, Germany, and Venice, HÖNIG IM KOPF has a feel-good ending in which Tilda's parents come to understand the true purpose of their lives, while Tilda (who also narrates the tale) realizes that her bond with Amandus will survive, even after his passing.
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