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  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Willkommen bei den Hartmanns" is a German movie from 2016 that is actually pretty long, runs for almost two hours. The writer and director is Simon Verhoeven and as much as I enjoyed his take on "Männerherzen" as disappointed am I by his effort here in terms of the script. This is a film about refugees, a topic that has been present and controversial in German media for months now so it was about time I guess that this complicated subject also got represented in German film. Here it does and at the same time it doesn't, but what I mean with this I will explain later on. Lets take a look at the cast first. Senta Berger (Verhoeven's mother) plays a major character, an actress who has been in German films for a long long time. Sadly, she was very irrelevant in this film. This was especially disappointing as she was the one introducing the refugee to the family. Her alcoholism story appeared as quickly as it disappeared and was apparently just a desperate attempt to give her character some reason of existence. Alcoholics should be offended. Her husband is played by Heiner Lauterbach. That's right. Have you ever thought to see Heiner Lauterbach be married in a film to the more-than-a-decade-older Senta Berger, with his background (Jenny Elvers etc.) Lets be honest here. His private life is very similar to the one the script criticizes here about his character. Also all the age references about Lauterbach's character cannot make this relationship seem credible. Berger was just miscast (and maybe the connection to the filmmaker) explains why. On a positive note, Lauterbach gives possibly the best performance of the film and has a couple pretty good moments, also in terms of comedy, that I did not really expect from him. Thumbs up for him here for sure. The daughter is played by Palina Rojinski and her character falls in love with Elyas M'Barek's. This is a very fitting relationship in the negative sense. I see both actors as people who may have decent recognition value, physical attractiveness and charisma and I sure would not push Rojinski out of my bed, but I also see both as extremely forgettable when it comes to their range. M'Barek has lots of screen-time, but not a single scene where he could shine as an actor and it's obvious why. Rojinski has 2 or 3 scenes, but she shines in none of them either. Her character's brother is played by the Florian David Fitz and while he does not have immense range either I think he has decent talent when it comes to acting and also shows it to us occasionally, even if he is sometimes in danger of going too much over the top. Eric Kabongo who plays the refugee is bearable, but nothing special. Uwe Ochsenknecht does not have too many scenes, but has nice chemistry with Lauterbach as they share the screen in most of his scenes and makes his character work somehow.

    Now lets talk about the script and the film in general. I personally think that the first half of the film was actually pretty decent. There were scenes that were actually pretty funny, like these about Lauterbach's character Botox injections for example. The introduction of the characters was decent and you never had the impression that this film took itself or the subject too seriously. All this changed after the one-hour-mark. With protesting Nazis, drug-abusing hipsters, police interventions and finally even coverage about the Hartmanns on national television it all took a turn for the worse and Verhoeven's attempts at making this a really relevant and defining film on the subject of refugees backfired completely. I also really did not like the agenda he was outing upon us. It is perfectly fine if he is apparently 100% pro refugees, but I would have hoped for more diversity. Showing us a refugee who is apparently a terrorist-in-hiding as we find out at the very end or including quotes from the Koran that justify killing everybody with a different belief and then letting the characters explain that it's not about the words but about the people simply isn't good enough. Also the film depicted those who criticize the German government's approach to the subject as Nazis, lonely old neighbors and obsessed stalkers and this was extremely unsatisfying. The approach Verhoeven gave it is not a tolerable solution in my opinion. The right approach lies somewhere between the extremes of letting everybody in and letting nobody in. Bit like I described earlier, this is not the only problem with this movie. The second half just destroyed a lot that worked well in the first hour. A lot of the drama, basically almost all of it, rings very false, such as the heart attack that they have build up again and again throughout the film or the police attack on the Hartmanns' home and they hear right at the very same time that it's not justified when they break through the door. It's spectacle over substance and this is my main criticism with this film. They tried to make it appealing to the broad masses who enjoyed crap like "Fack Ju Goehte" before and the film's quality suffers a lot from it. This movie was best when it went for 100% comedy and did not take itself seriously at all. The moment it becomes very serious about the subject of refugees, it all goes south. Also the happy ending for everybody from the family is pretty cringeworthy and has basically nothing to do with reality. With how it eventually turned out, I cannot agree with the previous reviewers and I also cannot recommend watching this movie here. Germany definitely still has a big problem when it comes to filmmaking that includes the genres comedy and drama in one film. Thumbs-down from me for these 115 minutes. Watch something else instead.
  • There are several reasons to recommend this comedy. First of all, it is a very entertaining take on topics that are being discussed not only in Germany, but all over Europe: how will the influx of refugees from Africa and the Middle East change our society? In this movie, a rich Munich family wants to do more than wave "Refugees welcome"-placards, so they offer a home to one of the refugees. As a plot, this could be rather embarrassing due to political correctness (or lack thereof), but writer and director Simon Verhoeven manages to include all the different views on immigrants without losing track of the comedy for one moment. He has created a set of characters that are likable and well-rounded, and the development of the story, while predictable in the general outline (of course a comedy needs a happy ending), is surprising at every turn and full of funny dialogue which had people laughing out loud in the cinema. Another reason to watch this comedy is the cast. The older generation is being represented by the always wonderful Senta Berger, as well as Heiner Lauterbach, Uwe Ochsenknecht and Ulrike Kriener (yes, those last three together had us laughing in Doris Dörrie's "Männer" in the 1980s), the younger generation containing heartthrobs Florian David Fitz and Elyas M'Barek and a very lovable Palina Rojinski. Refugee Diallo is played by Eric Kabongo, who will hopefully get to play more leading roles in the future! And, thirdly, I very much liked the artful camera work and the well-chosen sets, which made the movie a joy to watch.
  • I stumbled on this by Netflix recommendations and was a little bored at this time, so I thought: Why not? Overall this film is a light comedy with a solid background. At first I thought this may be part of 'framing', getting the German people to accept the flood of migrants they have experienced over the last years. But there's more to it. I got intrigued after about ten minutes and watched it till the (almost expected) end. The filming and acting was good, it was good entertainment, but with a slightly belly grim on my side (as a German). As a comedy this works well, but I found the educational under streams to be better citizens annoying. We Germans don't need that. I gave a six, though.
  • All over the (western) world, there is one big issue that all have in common. It's a tragedy and it's tough for most people to wrap their head around some of the facts. We don't know what people really go through. Now some will take advantage of the system. But it's wrong to paint them all the same way.

    This movie takes certain clichés and makes fun of them. Most of the jokes are not laugh out loud funny though. It tries to be sophisticated about certain things and it does succeed most of the time. It's really a testament to script writing and to the fact that there is good writing in Germany, which leads to good movies. Some things are predictable of course, but it's still suspenseful until the end - and funny of course
  • A couple of wealthy Munich inhabitants, Richard and Angelika Hartmann, adopt an African refugee named Diallo for a couple of weeks until the officials decide if he can take permanent asylum in Germany...

    Soon they have to check on their own views towards the refugees while Diallo learns that this family has quite some problems on their own, which includes also the Hartmanns adult children and their grandson.

    The most successful German movies are usually light comedies, that's no difference here. What I liked about this movie that it covered a broad range of attitudes that Germans have towards the refugee crises, from far-left to far-right ones, things which people in Germany really think or say. There is also a subplot with an islamist among the refugees, or some Pegida-style "enraged citizen" protesters. Also, it covers quite a lot of other issues - estrangement between children and parents, growing old in a society where the job means a lot for the reputation of the individual and so on. It has no less than seven main characters and manages that well. I think it was also the right choice that they wrote the character of Diallo not as a hero character, but a rather normal guy who just fled his country because the one terrible act of violence that happened to his family. Acting-wise, Senta Berger and Heiner Lauterbach come from a different time than the younger actors in the movies and are in my opinion far above them. But, Florian David Fitz, does also a good job in the probably most unthankful role, playing the Hartmann son who is the clichéd manager who has no time for his son. Even Palina Rojinski, who is another ex-video jockey who turned to acting, does a little better than in her former efforts - and she has probably the most complex character, the daughter of the Hartmanns, who tries to escape an stalker, while struggling to finish her studies with 32 years and get a job, making her a kind of disgrace to her father.

    Its not a perfect movie, though. The setting is not too unrealistic - its not far fetched that refugees are adopted by German families, it happened sometimes since 2015 and was even advocated by some organizations. But, obviously, in the end reality has to be bent to provide the happy-end. This is too be expected.

    I had more qualms with that despite a lot of things were done well, the movie was not hugely funny. The dialogues rely too much on playing around with clichés and tropes, going for easy wins by the audience.

    Without spoiling too much, what will this movie say about the refugees in Germany, a country which took 700 000 of them?

    Ultimately, it offers a "light conservative" solution: traditional family values will fix things, society and the state set things right. This may be a bit simple, may be part of the happy end, but its what I believe the movie wants to say.
  • Great movie! The characters are funny, like a comedy should be at its best. The best German actors, straight-to-the-point dialogues, beautiful pictures. Hei, a German comedy at this international cinema level, you do not find that often! I've put Hartmann's heart in my heart, with all their spleens and weaknesses, who still hold together when it matters. What else do you want? That the comedy uses a serious refugee fate as a background for the family development, is wonderful. This is the way life is, everyone lives as best he can, and, at best, tries to help others. Simon Verhoeven wrote the script BEFORE the great wave of refugees came to Germany. He has taken a current situation as a hanger for typical family entertainment. And this has turned into a wonderful film that has thrilled over 3 million viewers.
  • JakeGuzik26 December 2018
    Sloppy production with a couple of nice jokes (but those seems to happen more by accident). A poor attempt of story telling to a subject that could have been been quite interresting. It's obvious that the director was not capable to wrap his arms around the story which speak a lot for his lack of talent. Also most of the actors performed far below their normal level. Overall a total waste of time.
  • This film tells the story of an affluent German family, where each member has issues of their own. The arrival of a refugee turns their world upside down.

    I really like this comedy because it is clever, fast paced and really funny. It also takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions, such as sadness, jealousy and insecurity. It is also very unusual in the sense that it is politically incorrect many times, and even dares to vocalise the societal anxiety towards current political and societal issues regarding the refugees. I think it is a brilliant film.
  • I have to admit that I first had reservations regarding this movie. Since the refugee situation in Germany is omnipresent in the media and the public discussion very polarized, one could already even call it intoxicated, I couldn't imagine how a subject like this could be turned into a comedy.

    But Simon did an excellent job: he hired a bunch of very well known German actors, most of them actually from Munich, and portrayed the wealthy German society as a whole with the Hartmann family and movie's characters impersonating all the different political opinions and individual personalities. Controversional dinner discussions, resentments in all directions, accidents of all kind are leading to the most hilarious situations…

    Politically Simon achieved to place the movie leisurely at the opinional center of the Germany society – a center that unfortunetely gets more and more eroded by the centrifugal forces of a polarized dicussion.

    Extremely recommended because it's an extremely good comedy!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The migration topic is not easy to talk about in Germany and to use this topic for a film is courageous. Simon Verhoeven's "Willkommen bei den Hartmanns" is the perfect mixture of comedy and seriousness and makes people laugh loudly and think deeply about the migration topic.Hartmann's is showing up daily situations and behavior and opens the minds for what is really important in live. It also show's up that not every migrant is a nice person, but most of them - and they should get a fair chance. There are strange funny situations shown up which normally are not happening in real live, but this is allowed in films like that. "Willkommen bei den Hartmanns" is really a highlight in German film culture!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Obviously any movie dealing with the Refugee Crisis is measured against a serious backdrop of political and human implications The Movie deals with this nicely and is one of the clearly better German comedies as they come. Set in Munich against the backdrop of a well being Upperclass family with some cracks in their world and the entry of a different side to their world with Refugees, gone wild old hippies, German alt rights and more when the Lady of the house for a mix of reasons decides to invite an refugee to their house. This sets in motion quite a nice series of events bringing the family back into shape and resolving issues. All roles well cast with top notch German Leads and excellent side parts, mainly Uwe Ochsenknecht (35 years removed from the Boat) as a beauty surgeon and Ulrike Kriener as a progressive teacher gone wild. Enjoy it for what it is and take away to think on your terms about what the refugee crisis means. My Wife ? Spot her in the Meeting Room in Shanghai (actually Munich BMW World) as a Chinese M&A Lawyer.