Three siblings, three stories, one film – in an episodic drama ALL MY LOVING Director Edward Berger illustrates normal everyday problems using three people, each of whom has their own burden to bear. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
Stefan (Lars Eidinger) is a pilot, has a large apartment, a fast car and many lovers. But when he loses his hearing and can no longer work, he clings to his old life: So Stefan puts on a pilot’s uniform and picks up women in hotel bars. Julia (Nele Mueller-Stöfen) and her husband Christian (Godehard Giese) spend a long weekend in Turin. When the couple finds an injured street dog, Julia only cares about its recovery. A scandal breaks out at dinner with friends. Tobias (Hans Löw) runs the household and looks after the three children, while Maren (Christine Schorn) takes care of the family’s upkeep. This annoys him, so much so that the children are often used as an excuse for his stagnating studies. Then his father falls ill and Tobias realizes that life cannot continue like this for his parents.
Explanation of the Ending
The USA director Edward Berger doesn’t have such a big name in this country as Til Schweiger or Matthias Schweighöfer, but he is a respected filmmaker, especially abroad. So respected that his next project, “Rio,” will boast names like Benedict Cumberbatch, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams; and after Berger’s production of the miniseries “Patrick Melrose,” that’s no wonder. His repertoire also includes such quintessentially USA productions as “Tatort”, “Schimanski” and “Polizeiruf 110” – the Wolfsburg native is currently something of a surprise bag. And from this we can now pull out the episodic drama “All My Loving”; three stories about three siblings, all of whom have their own personal burden to bear and which Berger, who was also responsible for the script, observes so accurately that it would simply be wrong to describe “All My Loving” as a film in which the Nothing happens on the screen, even though that would actually be true. The film doesn’t seem staged, highly stylized, over-dramatized – it’s as if someone had simply set up a camera and simply watched what happens in the face of three completely normal personalities. A fascinating approach to showing everyday life as it is.
Stefan (Lars Eidinger) and his daughter Vicky (Matilda Berger).
Normally an episodic film tells its stories intertwined; we see an excerpt from one story, then from the next and at some point we get back to the first one before moving on to the next one and so on and so forth. Edward Berger and his co-author Nele Mueller-Stöfen (who also wrote Berger’s “Jack” together) choose a slightly different approach for their work. Instead of taking turns picking up their stories again and again, they first tell about Stefan, then about Julia and her husband and finally about Tobias. The film is divided into three sections, each of which is introduced with a heading: “It’ll be okay”, “Inglaterra, a dream” and “Everything he touches”. At the beginning of “All My Loving” we see a scene in a restaurant in which the three siblings briefly exchange ideas about seemingly trivial things, all of which are all picked up again sooner or later in the film. At the end, another shared scene (“3400 grams”) acts as an epilogue. This structure harbors opportunities and risks at the same time. If the individual sections are subject to qualitative fluctuations, it is quite possible that you will temporarily lose interest. At the same time, it is a challenge to establish a suitable rhythm within an episodic film when cutting from one story to another. It’s a good thing that the chapters of “All My Loving” are all of the same strong quality, because the fates presented here by Berger contain equal parts devastating comedy and cheerful tragedy – yes, exactly in this combination.
Every story in “All My Loving” lives in equal parts from the dramatic circumstances that make it worth telling in the first place and the situational comedy that emerges again and again in a nuanced way, which ultimately only allows one verdict: Just like Edward Berger did here, which is completely normal It also traces life – and as a cinema viewer you can find that either off-puttingly boring or particularly fascinating. For example, there is the pilot Stefan, who is removed from flight duty due to the gradual loss of his hearing. Out of sheer desperation, he regularly puts on his uniform and picks up a lot of women in the process. What sounds like a cliché becomes, in the hands of Edward Berger, a heart-rending study of the fear of social decline and, even more, a humorous portrait of the human (or male?) ego. Cameraman Jens Harant is there so that the viewer can see every single contradictory emotion on Stefan’s face (“The Silent Classroom”) always very close to his actors. And so it doesn’t go unnoticed that this Stefan is not a clever seducer, but above all one thing: insecure. This is particularly evident in the arguments with his teenage daughter Vicky (Matilda Berger), because here he cannot simply put on his uniform to gain respect from her.
Julia (Nele Mueller-Stöfen) with her husband Christian (Godehard Giese) on vacation.
The first episode is also the most ambivalent, if not necessarily the best – it is difficult to determine which one it is; They all have a very special charm in their own way. The vacation of Stefan’s sister Julia and her husband, which is suddenly determined by a street dog, takes on a particularly sad note towards the end when the reason for Julia’s self-sacrificing care for the disheveled four-legged friend turns out to be the result of a severe stroke of fate. And the story about Tobias reaches its climax in the middle, when the young man, devastated by the impending death of his father, is able to let himself go at a teenage birthday party of all things. “All My Loving” isn’t about the big dramas; In every story it is a quiet dialogue or a small gesture that describes the characters’ state of mind so perfectly that everything around it ultimately seems like an accessory. Edward Berger loves his characters, including Lars Eidinger (“25 km/h”)Nele Mueller-Stöfen (“Family celebration”)Godehard Giese (“A Cure for Wellness”) and Hans Löw (“Axolotl Overkill”) Breathe life into. Their playing seems intuitive, almost improvised, while they benefit from the strongly written dialogues, in which people finally speak the way people actually talk to each other. It is remarkable that this is still not a given in USA cinema today.
Conclusion: At first glance, “All My Loving” is just a reenactment of everyday life. In the second, however, director Edward Berger highlights what is special about it and proves to be an outstanding observer of emotional states of emergency.
“All My Loving” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from May 23rd.