"Mit fünfzig küssen Männer anders" (ugh! the title already "Men aged fifty and above kiss differently") is a German television movie from 1999, so this one is already over 20 years old. One thing that has not changed since then is that these films almost always run for 1,5 hours or actually minimally under and this is also true for the outcome here. When ARD Degeto and Regina Ziegler Filmproduktion are both part of a film (one is enough already), you can already be assured that what you are about to watch will only reach the lowest quality imaginable. And even if you keep your expectations low for this one here, they will most likely be disappointed. It may sound harsh, but yes, this is indeed how bad this movie is. It is also a case of too many cooks spoiling the brother. We have three writers here. Dorit Zinn wrote the novel this is based on and even if I have not read it, I am positive that the outcome there is as poor as this movie. So probably a good thing this is the only work from the writer that got turned into a movie. Martin Henning was in charge of the screenplay here. You could definitely wonder why because he has only written one other screenplay before that and that was over a decade earlier, back when I was barely born. And he also did not write anything afterwards, which is probably a good thing too if we are looking at the quality here and that youth is not an excuse for him because, as I just stated, he already worked in the industry considerably earlier. Alistair Beaton is a mystery too. No clue what is up with him here. He may have been prolific and experienced by 1999, but really only with British projects, so no idea why he was a part of this at all. Or if he even was or if he is in here because he wrote this earlier for some British film. Cannot find something like that though.
The big name here is definitely director Margarete von Trotta. I have seen a lot from her and I cannot say anything positive whatsoever. I absolutely do not think this is the one film that stands out negatively from a decent body of work, but it is one film where she sucked just as much as she did with almost everything else from her body of work. Or maybe a bit more because this film was truly abysmal at times. But von Trotta is an incredibly overrated filmmaker that really only stands out because she maybe the most known female German director in her early years. Yet to see something though that warrants this status. She has nothing on her ex-husband for example and I don't even consider him on the samel level as the other defining folks back then such as Herzog, Wenders and Fassbinder. But back to this film here now: Let's take a look at the cast. von Trotta being on board helped them to get some fairly big names. Or "big" names. lead actress Senta Berger for example is also vastly overrated. Ulrich Pleitgen I felt pretty bad for with how his character was written. So uninspired. May he rest in peace. Konstantin Wecker is definitely a better musician than actor. Heinrich Schafmeister I had no clue why he was in this movie. I kinda have a soft spot for him, but with career decisions like this it's tough to keep liking him. His on-screen partner here is Tina Ruland? IHm really? Anyway, I struggle to call her an actress. Weisgerber some could recognize. Not much to say about her. Edgar Selge is always easy to identify, but his role here is really small. Daniela Ziegler has been in many Regina Ziegler films, I wonder if this is still a coincidence. Simon Verhoeven has a really small role in here, probably because he is Berger's son. And a filmmaker himself now by the way, but only with a so-so body of work at best too.
The one element that, once again with Ziegler and Degeto, overshadows everything from a negative perspective is the anti-male message. I understand that these films are mostly for female audience, but the way men are elaborated on in here, is absolutely disgusting and disgraceful. If a man in such a movie only dares to find another woman attractive than his partner, he is immediately depicted as really unlikable and not one bit worthy of the woman in his life. But what if it is the other way around? All good. The woman can do with as many men whatever she wants and the one to blame is always the husband/partner because either he did not took good enough care of his partner or the woman simply finds true love elsewhere and she is still charming and likable and simply wonderful. Only men can be despicable cheaters. I don't really understand it, but it must be the same like with how Black people cannot be racist. Anyway, let's not drift away too far here. There are still many moments for which this can be considered an awful movie. Another inclusion that fits the description is how all men are constantly drooling over Berger's character. And they are all younger. between her and Pleitgen, there were five years. Between her and Wecker, there were more than five, but admittedly Wecker looked ten years younger and between her and Feifel, there are over 20. Yep, that's right. Berger has men considerably younger being all crazy for her. Of course she does. She is a distinguished woman. And of course she also does not have sex this fairly handsome and much younger guys like Feifel's character. She does with Wecker's though or is about to before that hilarious moment during which they talk about showering before sex. Of course, once again, Berger plays a character too much of a self-confident woman to accept the man's wish. Sigh. And in the end, Pleitgen's character can be so happy again that his wife wants to be with him again, no matter how she kept cheating and making sure he is off for the weekend, so that she can go on a hike with her lover. With him and his car by the way we also see again how incapable and short-tempered men are depicted in these films.
One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the aspect of art. Berger plays an aspiring painter, but she may not have found her perfect approach yet because so far her pictures are only good, but the thing that sets her apart from everybody else is missing. of course, this changes also eventually because in the end, her cheating resulted in her finding the missing piece and we see she is at an exhibition where her works are put on display. Same nonsense pseudo feel-good happy ending as usual with Degeto. By then, I was only glad it was over really. It was all such a joke and not a good one. I normally say that I applaud every female that sees through this mess, but here the opposite is the case really. Any person with an IQ over 60 must see through the outcome here. It is all so unrealistic, so unauthentic, so fake. The anti-males message also continues during other scenes, for example when they are outside having barbecue or something and there is a huge flame when the men are in charge and the women watching. This shows us how in the filmmakers' eyes here the men want to be kings, but are really pretty incompetent and if the women really treat their men like kings, then this is because they are queens themselves and know it's best to make them think so. Kinda unreal that the screenplay here is really coming from two men. Not surprised at all that the novel is from a women. And of course, as I said very early on, von Trotta manages the impossible here to make things even worse. She is not talented at all as a filmmaker.
So also aside from Berger and her protagonist this is a really weak movie. For example, take the trip to the mountainside. There the instructor screams like crazy military-style at one of the people who take part because he whispered something to somebody else and that guy he treats like he is worth nothing. No offense, but this instructor would have lost his job a long time ago. He is making a lot of money there. Would you pay anything when you are insulted like that? Nope, you would maybe even sue. Also, when said instructor is finally getting put in his place by somebody else, he does not stantd up for himself, but says something appreciative like how he is glad that the fella stood up for himself. Besides, pretty good idea to drink beer during such a mountain tour. Will certainly help you sense of orientation and balance. Besides, this alpha-male who stood up for himself was played by Heinrich Schafmeister. Already difficult to picture him dating somebody like Tina Ruland's character (and her being crazy for him), but H.S. acting like a boss there is absolutely nothing that fits the actor or character. It felt all wrong. No matter where you were looking with this movie, it all turned into failure. The title already should have kept me from watching this one, but maybe I can at least warn some others this way. I think this is enough now. Almost impossible to find something positive here, maybe one thing would be that back in 1999 they were not yet shoving horrible loud soundtracks into our ears already (except very early on) the way it became a huge thing to make up for lack of a convincing story. Not that the silence here is any better. There was not a single moment where I thought this could be a weak and not a terrible films. Major thumbs-down. Highly not recommended. If we take this movie as an example of how the old millennium ended television film-wise, then it is as low as it gets. The sad thing is that Degeto's negative peak in quality may be here already, but in terms of quantity way worse times were about to happen. Skip everything this company has been a part of burning billions for absolutely unwatchable films. Like the one we got here. Boycott von Trotta as well.
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