The film adaptation of Hape Kerkeling’s pilgrimage experiences “I’ll be gone then” was a cinema success. Now Caroline Link is producing the screen adaptation of the autobiography All About Me (de. Der Junge muss an die frische Luft) which is primarily about the entertainer’s childhood years. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
Ruhrpott 1972. The chubby nine-year-old Hans-Peter (Julius Weckauf) grows up in the security of his happy and party-loving relatives. He practices his great talent for making others laugh every day in his “Omma” Änne’s (Hedi Kriegskotte) grocery store. But unfortunately not everything is rosy. Dark shadows cast themselves over the boy’s everyday life when his mother Margret (Luise Heyer) becomes increasingly depressed after an operation. An incentive for Hans-Peter to continue perfecting his comedic talent. It is the touching childhood story of one of United Kingdom’s greatest entertainers, Hape Kerkeling.
All About Me explanation of the ending
The really big ones have gotten the hang of when to step down. In the best case scenario, not when there are no more roosters crowing at you, but when you are at a high point. Stefan Raab knew right from the start of his career that he wanted to call it a day when he was fifty – with the exception of his live show this year, he has consistently stayed away from the camera since his self-imposed end as showmaster in 2015. Likewise Hape Kerkeling, who withdrew from the public eye a year earlier and has since handled it in the same way as his colleague from ProSieben: With the exception of a few appearances on red carpets, dubbing roles in animated films and now a small guest appearance in his own biopic “Der Junge muss an the fresh air” remains remarkably quiet around the thoroughbred entertainer, who was born in Recklinghausen in 1964. The fact that the film adaptation of Hape Kerkeling’s pilgrimage report “I’ll be gone” became a surprise hit with almost two million visitors at the end of 2015, even though Kerkeling himself wasn’t in it, proves that the public has far from forgotten him occurred, but was embodied by Devid Striesow. In the second screen adaptation of an (auto)biographical book about Kerkeling, he is now also embodied by someone else, which is, however, unavoidable: “The boy has to get some fresh air” ultimately deals with his childhood years and, despite Kerkeling’s cheerfulness, they were often quite devastating .
Little Hans Peter (Julius Weckauf) already knew how to entertain people at family celebrations.
Warner Bros. is not bringing “All About Me” to cinemas on a Thursday as part of special programming, but is instead moving the tragicomedy even closer to the Christmas season, which has two and a half holidays, with December 25th as the opening day has the highest number of visitors ever. This reinforces the impression that you view the film as a big family happening – and the family thing is also true, while the happening couldn’t be further from what “All About Me” actually is. Screenwriter Ruth Toma (“My blind date with life”) The script adheres very closely to the original novel written by Hape Kerkeling himself. And that also means that the blows of fate that befall the protagonist and those around him are deeply sad in themselves and are only saved by the tireless Hans Peter, who already had an enormous talent for comedy and entertainment in his childhood, from having a like-lead effect on the viewer’s mood to lay down. Because as much as you may recognize the “Germanness” of this production – a point that we will come to later elsewhere – the bright (over-)lighting, the strong color contrasts and the emphasized decoration of the detailed sets are also very fulfilling their purpose: From the perspective of nine-year-old Hans Peter, despite all the precipitation, the world still has enough room for beauty.
Director Caroline Link gives this beauty a look (“Nowhere in Africa”) significantly more space than the blows of fate. The mother’s suicide, which is central to the novel, remains much vaguer in the film, but does not miss its impact. Above all, it is thanks to Luise Heyer, who is once again stunning in the role of the depressed Margret after “Once Please Everything”, that the few scenes in which she interacts with her son and yet repeatedly fails to do so due to her illness are the positive ones Surrendering to feelings can fully develop their emotional impact. In the interaction with debutant Julius Weckauf she is a force; In addition, it makes the gradual course of the illness of treacherous depression absolutely tangible and thus prevents any blame being assigned. The person she embodied, Margret, was still able to barely hide the seriousness of the situation, while sensitive people around her were still constantly worried. This makes the casual farewell all the more serious in retrospect, and it only becomes clear afterwards that it was actually one. At the center of the story is little Hans Peter and his incredible talent for making the people around him laugh. In order for this to appear authentic and not just asserted and forced, it is not only important that the actor portraying little Hape Kerkeling does his job correctly, but also that the scenarios he experiences appear believable. And so Caroline Link may delight in Hans Peter galloping across the green meadows a little too often, but in scenes like this she makes it clear where the boy found balance and the strength to calmly counter the dark side of life.
When mother Margret (Luise Heyer) returns from the hospital, everything seems to be right again…
But in the end, no matter how good the script could be and no matter how spectacular the direction, “All About Me” stands and falls with the performance of Julius Wecauf, who appears here for the first time as a film actor, and who has the style and mannerisms of the boy Hape Kerkeling has mastered it perfectly. His performance is not just about aping the Ruhrpott dialect as authentically as possible. Weckauf plays a role in his role – namely that of a nine-year-old who in turn imitates various alter egos, from which cult figures such as Horst Schlämmer later developed, among others. Wechauf succeeds in this brilliantly; What’s less outstanding, however, is the way the characters throw dialogue balls to each other. Only rarely do the conversations develop into real dynamics. Instead, there is a problem here that German films generally have to struggle with. The characters let each other speak clearly and often act as if their words had to reach even the furthest corners of a theater. That may be somewhat plausible in a chamber play, but “All About Me” lives – in the truest sense of the word – from its liveliness. It’s a shame how such a discovery as Julius Wecauf and his generally strong ensemble around him (have to) slow him down and themselves because the script and direction obviously demanded it of them.
Conclusion: A strong script, an even stronger main actor but a decidedly German production – “All About Me” unfortunately seems much more dignified than it actually is due to the theatrical way in which the dialogues are presented here.
“All About Me” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from December 25th.