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Let Me Go (2017)

Let Me Go is a film about mothers and daughters, it is about ghosts from the past and the impact they leave on the present. Developed from Helga Schneider's true life story, Let Me Go ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Helga
... Beth
... Emily
Karin Bertling ... Traudi
... Serge
... Eva
... Chris
Lioba de Graaff ... Young Helga
... Dani
... Fraulein Adler
Lou Rhodes ... Nightclub Singer
... Ralph
Justin Smalley ... Barman in Jazz Club
Andrew Murton ... Drunk Man (as Andy Murton)
Elena Platon ... Serge's Ex


Let Me Go is a film about mothers and daughters, it is about ghosts from the past and the impact they leave on the present. Developed from Helga Schneider's true life story, Let Me Go explores the effect on Helga's life of being abandoned by her mother, Traudi in 1941 when she was just four years old. The film is set in the year 2000 following not only Helga and Traudi's journeys but the next two generations and how Beth, Helga's daughter and Emily her granddaughter are confronted with the long-term effects of Traudi's leaving. When Helga receives a letter telling her that Traudi is close to death, it is Emily with whom Helga shares the truth. Emily volunteers to accompany her to Vienna to meet the great-grandmother she thought was dead, and experience the unraveling of the darkest of family secrets. Written by Polly Steele

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15 September 2017 (UK)  »

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Let Me Go  »

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A generational odyssey of dark revelation and emotional turmoil!
18 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

Based upon the true life memoire of Helga Schneider, Let Me Go explores the effect of abandonment and its rippling impact on family relationships; in this instance between four generations of women in the same family. A fantastic cast led by Juliet Stevenson (Truly Madly Deeply) playing Helga deliver on a thoughtful emotional and superbly adapted screenplay from Polly Steele (who also directs this independently financed piece – prize winning at Bentonville for the ensemble cast and part of the official selection for the Edinburgh Film Festival). Set in the London of 2000, we meet Helga as a woman working as a dressmaker in London who receives an unsettling letter and puts it away as her granddaughter calls into the shop. With a bit of cajoling by the granddaughter, Emily (Lucy Boynton – Sing Street), we learn Helga's cousin, Eva, has written from Vienna to say that Helga's mother, Traudi is close to death in a nursing home. That sad news is not only a revelation for Emily and Helga's own daughter, Beth (as a somewhat lost soul and free spirit by Jodhi May) as neither were aware of a Traudi's being alive, but it is clear that Helga doesn't want to talk about the estrangement. It is only with some interweaving of flashbacks and Helga's own reluctant partial remarks that we learn that 60 years earlier Helga (then only four years old), is left in wartime Germany by Traudi to the care of an aunt. Traudi embodies many contradictions as both vulnerable, needy and confused old woman in a care home, but then at times revealing that she is sharp, devious and quite wicked. Without doubt played brilliantly by Swedish actress, Karin Bertling (The Bridge and Wallander). Emily's naïve excitement at discovering she has a long lost great- grandmother and her genuine affection for Helga sees her wheedling onto the trip to Vienna where we then get to follow not only the tides of Helga and Traudi's lives, but to see the unmistakable effects that mark Beth and Emily with the inevitable unravelling of family secrets and guilt. Underpinned by a moving and sympathetic soundtrack composed by Phil Selway (Radiohead) beautifully using a string quartet to mirror the main protagonists and the beautiful and poignant settings in and around Vienna, this film makes one think about the very essence of life, relationships and family ties. Bravo to the UPP for giving this two sold out shows and I hope there may be a growing take up of this small masterpiece of storytelling.


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