"Hedi Schneider steckt fest" or "Hedi Schneider Is Stuck" is a German movie that had its world premiere last year (2015) and managed to score some awards attention since then. It is also in the German language and the writer and director is Sonja Heiss for whom it is possibly her most known work so far. The cast includes a couple names that German movie buffs may recognize, such as Simon Schwarz, Margarita Broich or lead actress Laura Tonke, who won 2 German Film Awards recently, one for her portrayal of the title character here. But is she really that good during these slightly over 90 minutes? I don't think so. She is definitely not bad and one of the better aspects of the film, but this is just because most of the rest is relatively weak and not because her performance is awards-worthy whatsoever. So yeah, this is a film that deals with a woman who is stuck. Early on, we may think it is a light comedy about somebody stuck in an elevator, but nope. Hedi Schneider is stuck in life and develops something that people in Germany know as an "Angsterkrankung", an illness closely related to fear.
This major plot point is also the reason why in my opinion, this is almost 100% a drama and not a comedy by any means, even if there are some subtly funny moments, at least in theory, as in my opinion none of these worked out that well at all I guess. And the most disappointing thing is that the drama parts are not convincing overall either. Tonke makes the most of the material, but eventually the film delivers nothing in terms of touching elements or really memorable sequences and fails in his aspiration to be a defining film about this kind of psychological illness. It is almost offensive to people that really suffer from it. It all comes down in the end to showing us the main character be addicted to pills and walk around the street like a maniac buying chameleons and rabbits. Or speaking about the male protagonist how he cheats on his woman, does not want to be hugged by her and then in the end the two (with their son) go on a holiday and all is fine again. If you ask me, this is one of the worst shots at a forced happy ending one can imagine. None of the problems and controversies are solved. Yes you can explain this by the fact that it's too complicated to be solved that quickly and this is certainly correct, but still, Heiss really took the easy and most embarrassing way out here.
My overall verdict for this movie is a thumbs-down. It offers not nearly as much depth as I hoped it would. Actually, I expected it to be a much lighter film then it turned out to be. What I found a bit embarrassing also is the way they showed us Hedi's character as such a likable person and whenever she does something wrong, it is really just because she is sick while her husband is depicted occasionally as a pretty unlikable character and the only intention I can see there is that we (the audience) feel even more for Hedi and her struggles and suffering. I personally, however, never really felt for the title character. Tonke joked at the German Film Awards about possible sequels, but I really hope this is not gonna happen and the quality in this original movie is not even close to the level where I'd get curious about a second film. I do not recommend the watch, not even for Tonke's fairly overrated portrayal in here. Watch something else instead and the awards attention this movie received is truly inaccurate. Oh yeah, and finally also a huge thumbs-down for spoiling the ending of the classic "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". I encourage especially those who do not know the latter to stay far far away from Hedi Schneider. No idea what this was for. I guess they thought mentioning such a classic in here can actually increase the sub-par quality of their work here. Extremely desperate and unsuccessful of course.
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