Film Critique: Young Goethe in Love

The film I chose to see was called Young Goethe in Love, a German film directed by Philipp Stölzl. The film told the story of a young poet named Goethe. In the beginning, Goethe was forced into a law apprenticeship by his father, who did not believe in his son’s silly poetry. After arriving at his apprenticeship, Goethe made new friends and ended up at a dance party where he ran in to the lovely Lotte, a countrywoman. The two shared a passion for literature and they fell in love. But the beautiful Lotte was set up to marry Kestner, the head of the law firm where Goethe worked. Even though Lotte and Goethe did not end up together in the end, Goethe finally had a story of his published, through which their love would live forever.

The theme of this film could probably be interpreted in various ways, but the most central point was that love can last forever, even if it is not in reality. This was shown in the story Goethe wrote in the end about his and Lotte’s love. They both decided that even though they could not be together in real life, their love would last forever in the form of poetry. Another important point in the film was that although love may not succeed in reality, the experiences one has from being in love can lead to great successes. Goethe would have never written his successful story if his relationship with Lotte had not happened and concluded the way it did.

Even though the film may seem overly romantic, the plot of the film was actually very believable, as all the events actually took place at one time. The book that Goethe wrote, The Sorrows of Young Werther, was extremely popular in Europe during Goethe’s time. The way time was used in the film was incredibly successful, and sometimes suspenseful, as well. The film was very linear, there were no flash backs or sudden jumps between periods of times, but there were certain scenes where time was used in a very clever manner. For example, after the first time Goethe and Lotte met, they were both wondering when they should contact the other again: should they write each other? should they visit? They were both dying to see each other. Goethe decides to leave town to go to the countryside where Lotte lives. At the same time, though, Lotte decides to leave the countryside to visit Goethe in town. The two end up passing each other (one on a bridge high above, the other on the road under the bridge) without actually seeing one another. Of course they met later on, but painful scenes like these happened frequently throughout the film, and as a viewer I was on the edge of my seat, waiting anxiously for the two lovers to be together.

The main characters of the film also highly contributed to its believability and to the theme of love. The characters were obviously the romantic types: Goethe with his unkempt hair, dreamy eyes, and sensitivity and passion for all things love and poetry; and then Lotte with her tight romantic curls, beautiful face, and a fun, yet elegant, way of talking and carrying herself. It was easy to see that both characters were passionate and true romantics.

The film was not packed with much symbolism, but it could be said that the poetry symbolized an eternal love. And as for the genre, this film could relate with many other films. This film, which could be identified as a drama/romance, relates with various tales about a young, unsuccessful man falling in love with a women who is set up to marry another man (who is wealthier of course). Even though this storyline has become rather worn out, I feel that this film portrayed it in a different manner. The charismatic character of Goethe, as well as the beautiful transitions from the town to the countryside, created a truly beautiful and entertaining film. And the chemistry between Goethe and Lotte was so evident in this film that I am sure many people would appreciate it.

Overall, I highly recommend this film. Not only was it visually pleasing, but the story was also engaging and left me on the edge of my seat wondering if Goethe and Lotte would end up together. The film was extremely understandable, probably even more so if one spoke German (and wouldn’t always have to rely on the subtitles!). And although the film was German, I did not feel that there were huge differences between it and an American film. The only difference I might point out is that it was simpler. When I watch foreign films, I always feel that they are simpler and cleaner than American films. American films tend to either have too many events taking place or tend to be extremely complex, and I prefer simpler films. So to reiterate, I loved this film. I thought it was truly beautiful, and I would definitely recommend it to any of my (probably only girl) friends.


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