Head Full of Honey Movie Review (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

Til Schweiger shot “Honey in the Head” again: HEAD FULL OF HONEY is an (almost) one-to-one remake. Where are the subtle differences? We reveal that in our review of this absolutely dispensable film.

The Plot Summary

The humorous, esteemed head of the family Amadeus becomes increasingly forgetful and can no longer cope with everyday life on his own. It becomes inevitable that he has to move from the USA to live with his son Nick and his wife Sarah and his granddaughter Matilda in London and although it breaks Niko’s heart, he soon has to realize that for Amadeus the path to a home is inevitable. But after little Matilda finds out what her grandfather’s life is really like, she definitely doesn’t want to accept it and comes up with a plan: without further ado, she takes her grandfather on a chaotic and exciting journey in order to fulfill his greatest wish: again See Venice!

Movie explanation of the ending

(Almost) one-to-one remakes are much rarer than the common internet commentator makes it seem. Even Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, the live-action film, repeatedly leaves the visual, tonal and narrative path of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, the animated film, for long stretches, even if the references to the drawn classic are in high frequency and clarity and the direction, especially during the songs taken from the original, comes close to the forerunner. Nevertheless, quite a few film fans and representatives of film journalism accused the live-action musical of being paralyzingly similar to the animated film. Real (almost) one-to-one remakes, consequently, have an even worse reputation than the billion-dollar Disney hit with Emma Watson. Nevertheless, the “Why?” that is hurled accusingly at such films can often be quickly answered. Gus van Sant’s “Psycho”, often considered one of the weakest or at least most pointless films of all time, is (in the patronizing reading) actually primarily a study in film craft: Van Sant wanted to examine what happens when you combine Hitchcock’s suspense masterpiece with others actors and in color, but otherwise changes as little as possible. While it was certainly exciting from the point of view of a cinematic study project for a limited audience, the film was not well served by a normal mainstream release. And just like that, your reputation is ruined.

Niko (Matt Dillon) and Sarah (Emily Mortimer) search for Amadeus and their daughter in Venice.

Most (almost) one-to-one remakes practically have the opposite purpose (postulated here) of the colorful “Psycho” remake: They are simply intended to make money. In particular, non-English language successes are often re-shot in English in order to continue the success story from other markets in the USA (a cinema nation that is rather allergic to both dubbing and subtitles). In the case of “Head Full of Honey”, this calculation didn’t work out: Schweiger’s own remake of his drama “Honig im Kopf”, which attracted over seven million people to cinemas in this country, failed in the USA. Schweiger then criticized, among other things, the gloating press that had prematurely slammed the film, but whether the paying US audience was really deterred by a handful of English-language reviews and the USA news about the performance of “Head Full of Honey” remains to be seen reserved for individual imagination. Either way, the US version of “Honey in the Head” is still getting a USA theatrical release, of course with reduced commercial expectations. That means: Before the USA cinema audience gets to see another (potential) (almost) one-to-one remake later this film year, namely Disney’s big-budget tech demo “The Lion King”, but this one Animated photorealistically on the computer instead of hand-drawn with passion, “Head Full of Honey” allows him a rare insight.

A rare insight into filmmaking that provides answers to the following questions: What if the same director, author, editor and producer, a few years apart, produced the same story in the same color aesthetic and with almost the same script in very similar shots, but with different actors and for one staged in another market? How many differences emerge? Is Til Schweiger the same director today as he was in the middle of this decade? So: The plot remains practically the same, except that in this version Nick (“The House That Jack Built” lead actor Matt Dillon as a Til Schweiger replacement) doesn’t live in United Kingdom, but in London. Nick and his wife Sarah (Emily Mortimer) bring the former veterinarian Amadeus (Nick Nolte as Dieter-Hallervorden-Eratz) from his home in the USA due to his increasing confusion and now let him live with them. There, “Head Full of Honey” Amadeus experiences the same health decline as in the USA version: he sets the luxury kitchen on fire, thinks the refrigerator is a toilet and says incoherent things with increasing frequency. But before the worried and unnerved couple can transfer Amadeus to a home for dementia sufferers, his ten-year-old granddaughter (Sophie Lane Nolte instead of Emma Schweiger) grabs the confused pensioner to give him a few nice moments on a European trip to Venice…

“Head Full of Honey” has the typical Til Schweiger look.

Although the script literally adopts the character 1:1, Grandpa Amadeus is a touch gentler in the remake: the spry, cheeky badger who is a little (and sometimes a lot) confused becomes an old man whose convolutions in his brain soften and stick together, which is why he misbehaves from time to time. Nolte’s gentler playing ensures that in a direct comparison between “Honig im Kopf” and “Head Full of Honey” the remake comes across as subtly more dramatic, while the way Schweiger once directed Hallervorden, the more comedic note was a little stronger. Because there are no relevant differences on the script side, these variations remain gentle nuances – and they underline that Schweiger has simply stubbornly remade his film. Because Nolte’s way of playing the role clashes with the script: the fact that Hallervorden’s Amadeus insists several times on telling a dirty joke to nuns fits completely into the way the character is designed. With Nolte, on the other hand, the idea comes to mind that this Amadeus, even if he doesn’t understand what’s going on, would simply have to keep quiet out of kindness – if the script didn’t dictate otherwise.

Another striking difference between the original and the remake concerns the character Sarah: In the original, she is a nagging, uncomprehending viper who is tamed in the final act by the magic of traveling after a confused man. The remake Sarah is a nagging, uncomprehending viper , who is tamed in the final act by the magic of following a confused man – and is played with angelic patience by Emily Mortimer. Here the game and the text bite each other almost throughout, while in Amadeus it only happens intermittently: Mortimer always looks friendly, level-headed and with a slight concern in the corners of her mouth, but continues to deliver the bilious lines that Jeanette Hain had to croak out in the original. But that doesn’t turn a stereotypical cardboard character into a more complex role, it simply seems as if there was simply no understanding on set as to how the character should be understood. Otherwise, there’s not much left to hold on to: Schweiger continues to stick to his striking look, which has a certain homeliness associated with baked roll advertising, but which still undeniably has something warm and welcoming about it. But what was still refreshing in “Barefoot” and “Keinohrhasen” has now become stale, especially because Schweiger’s editing has deteriorated massively over the years. In “Barefoot” Schweiger drew us into his romanticized quasi-fairytale world with nostalgic, dusty, shimmering aesthetics and fully equipped vintage apartments (with a touch of modernity!). In “Honey in the Head” he attacked us with staccato cuts that preferred a large number of counter shots to the harmonious development of emotional conversations. And “Head Full of Honey” is cut a bit more aggressively than its predecessor – although not nearly as manic as “Class Reunion 1.0”. Feelings still fall by the wayside.

Amadeus (Nick Nolte) forgets more and more…

Conclusion: “Head Full of Honey” is sometimes unwatchable due to the hectic editing and offers nothing new in terms of narrative compared to the original. Wherever the director who made “The Polar Bear”, “Barefoot” and “Keinohrhasen” as well as “Zweiohrchicken” goes: he is welcome to fight his way out again.

“Head Full of Honey” can be seen in USA cinemas from March 21st.

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