This is a new German film about three siblings who we first meet rowing in a posh restaurant.
Stefan is an airline pilot, who hasn’t flown for a few months as his hearing’s dodgy. He still wears his uniform to hang around hotel bars and pick up one night stands. For the rest of the time he walks his dog and mooches around his luxury flat which has lots of gadgets but no books or records or anything that might suggest a personality.
One night he is invited up for a threesome but knocked back as the other woman doesn’t fancy him much. Driving around the streets he sees his daughter who now lives with his ex. She says she’s on the way to a party and he orders her to go home. After she tells him to fuck off he loses her. Later on she turns up at his ex’s house and goes to sleep.
Julia goes on holiday in Milan with her husband. It’s a luxurious hotel and they’re the kind of people who can afford to drink water from the minibar. After a stray dog gets hurt in a hit and run accident she adopts it. By chance they meet an irritating old friend of her husband (one of those blokes who always laugh at their own jokes). When he invites them to dinner it turns out that they’re both still grieving the death of their son a few years ago.
Tobi is the most sympathetic of the three, and the only one you could imagine spending any time with. At 39 he’s a permanent student with a bit of a rumpled look. You get the impression that he’s subsidized by his more prosperous wife.
Of course its Tobi who has to go and check on their ageing parents. Their cantankerous dad has a dodgy leg, but his doctor refuses to have anything more to do with him. As his illness gets worse, Tobi mixes his time between the hospital and a local bar. The result is tragic but hardly surprising.
Three people, each with problems of different severity. But they’re not People Like Us, and you (ok I) struggle to feel any affinity. At the end of the film there’s a coda to show that things aren’t as bad as all that and life does contain hope, but to be honest, that just serves to irritate even more.
I don’t want to belittle the tragedy of familial death, but it all takes place in such soulless opulence that it all comes across as a whingefest of First World problems. I kept expecting something to happen, something to explain why any of this matters. I’m still waiting.