A mother desperately tries to find a connection with her son, who has been holed up in his room for two years. Why? GOLIATH96 It’s worth watching, we reveal in our review.
The Plot Summary
Kristin Dibelius (Katja Riemann) and her son David (Nils Rovira-Munroz) have not seen or spoken to each other for two years. And this despite the fact that they live together in a three-room apartment. Because David refuses any communication with his mother. He avoids her, he barricades himself in his room almost all the time, only leaving it occasionally to go to the bathroom when his mother is away or to put frozen pizzas in the oven as soon as she is asleep. Kristin is completely desperate and doesn’t understand why her son has turned away from her so much. David ignores his mother’s attempts to have a conversation through the closed door. The desperate mother hides all of this from those around her. When Kristin loses her job one day, the situation at home affects her more than ever, which is why she seeks outside help. She found out from one of her son’s acquaintances that David was active in internet forums. So she registers in the Drachenbau forum, where he acts as “Goliath96”. And despite slight teething problems, it works: “cinderella97” starts talking to “Goliath96”. But the more familiar the conversations become, the less control Kristin has over the situation…
Movie explanation of the ending
The phenomenon of hikikomori is by no means new – it was first described in Japan in 1998 – but it is steadily gaining momentum. In a study carried out in March 2019, it was stated that over a million people in Japan alone are attributable to hikikomori – the targeted withdrawal from society, barricading themselves within their parents’ four walls. Children’s room hermits also exist in United Kingdom – and “Goliath96” is the second cinema drama dedicated to them in around a year. Like Isabel Prahl’s “1,000 Ways to Describe Rain,” “Goliath96” is told in calm, cutting camera angles and reduced dialogue. And like Prahl’s film, Marcus Richardt’s drama uses a weather motif that contrasts with isolation. But this is where the parallels end, as both films have different focuses and, after the initial, leisurely depiction of the family situation, go in different directions.
Kristin remembers carefree childhood days with her son…
While “1,000 Ways to Describe Rain” is primarily about the family surrounding a young person who is isolating himself and how broken it is, “Goliath96” is about the attempts at contact by a mother who doesn’t want to give up her hikikomori son. Riemann plays the role of Kristin, who always tries to put on a composed facade, better than she has in years: It’s easy to believe that those around her remain at a loss because Kristin appears very inconspicuous and calm – but we have further context and can do so when the camera approaches her, see small nervous twitches in her face when she once again talks about her son’s alleged stay in Texas or she tries again in vain to get him to react while she crouches in front of his door and in a soliloquy style of hers day told. This game of small facial and gestural expressions continues as soon as Kristin registers in a kite-building forum and communicates with her son there under the name ‘cinderella97’ without him noticing. It’s just a small victory for Kristin, who finally wants to talk to her son again when he makes fun of her question in a forum or offers know-it-all help – but it is a progress, and so Riemann’s joy is expressed through a small twist in the corners of her mouth and a slight change in her voice when she breathes a sigh of joy.
Director Marcus Richardt, who also wrote the script together with Thomas Grabowsky and is making his fictional feature film debut here, supports the subtle, yet intense play with his delicate, concentrated direction. The camera is mostly still, so close to Riemann and later also to Nils Rovira-Munoz, who also plays discreetly but expressively, that you can see every facial movement, but so far away that the dark, oppressively lifeless rooms of mother and son feel claustrophobic Creating a mood while the rudimentary chat conversations move worlds within the characters.
Mother and son avoid each other.
The precise editing expands on the unspoken thoughts and feelings – after a video chat attempt that went disastrously awry (a roller coaster ride of emotions, that’s all we want to say right now), Richard cuts straight to the next morning and shows Kristin lost in thought in the suffocating atmosphere empty, large kitchen. In general, a lot remains unsaid in “Goliath96”, which is thematically appropriate. For example, whether Kristin is aware that she is isolating herself from her friends and thus doing the same things to them as her son does to his confidants. What exactly led to the break in the family also remains unclear. Brightly lit flashbacks with postcard beach motifs show happy childhood days leading up to the present, but even if David becomes a little clearer later in the film, the overall picture remains incomplete – which is not an omission on the part of the filmmakers, but rather a failure of Kristin’s Position shifted.
Conclusion: Emotionally, strongly acted and directed with a steady, unerring hand: “Goliath96” is an emotionally charged but grippingly subtly implemented drama about isolation.
“Goliath96” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from April 18th.