Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Young Goethe In Love (Rhoades)

“Young Goethe”
Is Like a Rom-Com

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Lawyer Sheldon Davidson took some heat recently for being a sticker about proper word usage. Defiant, he responds, “As a noted barb once said: ‘We may be fighting a losing battle regarding proper English usage, but I would rather go down with the ship than scuttle her.’”
Maybe if Sheldon had failed his bar exam, he would have become a grammarian, lexicographer, English teacher … or poet.
That’s what happened to Johan Wolfgang von Goethe. Failing the exam to become a lawyer, the prolific young German (1749  – 1832) became a biologist, theoretical physicist, pictorial artist, writer, and poet. The author of “Faust,” he is considered “the supreme genius of modern German literature.”
Goethe’s life is examined in “Young Goethe in Love” – the biopic that’s currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.
The focus here (as the title suggests) is that period after failing the law exam when he is sent by his father to the provincial court to reform, but instead falls in love with a young woman who is promised to another man. Little does he know that the other suitor is none other than his superior, Albert Kestner.
Alexander Fehling plays Goethe. The 31-year-old Berliner was picked last year as one of Europe’s Shooting Stars.
Miriam Stein takes the role of Lotte, the object of the poet’s affection. She’s a veteran of TV movies in Europe.
Henry Huebchen steps in as Goethe’s father and Burghart Klaußner plays Lotte’s papa. Moritz Bleibtreu is cast as Goethe boss and rival for the pretty young fräulein.
The unfulfilled love between the poet and Lotte was the inspiration for Goethe’s epistolary novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” a masterpiece alongside his “Faust” (considered the greatest long poem of modern European literature).
For those of you who don’t know much about Germanic literature, a historic grounding is not necessary to enjoy this movie. It’s simply a tale of a young poet in love. A randy young man in the Tom Jones vein.
As one critic termed it, “An Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl rom-com vehicle with pretty dresses.”
I’m sending Sheldon a ticket to this movie. Maybe it’s not too late to become a poet.

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