Good Girl Gone Bad Movie Review (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

The film formerly titled “It’s over, Helmut” is now coming out, more than a year late Good Girl Gone Bad (de. Petting statt Pershing) to the cinemas and tells – once again – a German-German story about the fall of the Berlin Wall. We reveal in our review what it does better than other films.

The ’68ers and their ideals of new beginnings and freedom have finally arrived in the provinces…

The plot summary

It’s the 1980s, we’re in West Germany – and 17-year-old Ursula (Anna Florkowski) is in the middle of puberty. She doesn’t have many friends and is often the target of teasing because of her full figure. The clever girl doesn’t have it easy at home either: her parents Inge (Christina Große) and Helmut (Thorsten Merten) live a strictly conservative life and want their daughter to live as a housewife and mother after school. Ursula, on the other hand, has other plans and has been interested in politics since she was a teenager and is committed to opposing nuclear power. When one day she meets the handsome teacher Siegfried Grimm (Florian Stetter), her life takes a radical turn. Siegfried runs an organic farm where he lives with many other activists, runs self-discovery courses and organizes non-violent protests. He is understanding towards Ursula, is interested in her needs and therefore promptly becomes the object of her desire. Unfortunately, Ursula has no idea that she is not the only girl for the freedom-loving polygamist…

Good Girl Gone Bad Movie Meaning & ending

It’s almost a running joke that German filmmakers can’t do anything other than direct romantic comedies or historically colored dramas. If the focus is not on the Second World War, it is preferably the years around the fall of the Berlin Wall, which are usually told from the perspective of the East. In this respect, the decision of director Petra Lüschow (among other things, wrote the script for the true crime drama “Tannöd”) to set her story in the West is downright refreshing. In addition, she repeatedly sprinkles in political themes and not only the division of Germany is omnipresent, but also the aftermath of the Third Reich. But primarily “Petting instead of Pershing”, which was supposed to be released in German cinemas in 2018 under the title “It’s over, Helmuth”, but has been repeatedly postponed until today, is about the teenager Ursula, who Lüschow also loves others as stereotypical. Ultimately, your film could probably take place in the here and now, the changes would only be marginally noticeable. Because the themes dealt with in the comedy are timeless – but there are also a lot of them. And so Lüschow tells a little about everything, but nothing completely. “Petting instead of Pershing” is still entertaining and, above all, atmospheric.

Ursula (Anna Florkowski) is full of vitality and longing and wants to break out of the conservative structures.

In the film, Ursula not only experiences her first great love, she also has to deal with the house blessing that is constantly hanging askew. Her mother is cheating on her father (with the man her daughter actually likes), her grandfather is hiding an opaque Nazi past, an organic commune is causing a stir in the village and also a missing girl, according to whom the TV show “Aktenzeichen “XY unsolved” is wanted, plays a role somewhere in this jumble of storylines. Petra Lüschow has big plans to bring a kaleidoscope of authentic Eighties flair to the big screen and devotes just as much detail to free love as she does to the fight against nuclear power. A corresponding number of characters appear on the stage over the course of the quickly staged 90 minutes. But even though they all have enough whimsy to at least be able to identify them based on that, the filmmaker fails to be equally interested in them all. The only believable character development is given to the main character herself: the film stands or falls with Ursula and her emotional turmoil, and newcomer Anna Florkowski is a real revelation in the role of the rebellious rebel who finally wants to do something about her inconspicuous existence.

The rest of the cast only acts as cues and only acts as necessary for the course of the plot. You don’t really get that close to most of the characters. Florian Stetter (“Beloved Sisters”) is actually stunning as Siegfried Grimm – we would have fallen for someone like that when we were at school. But he can’t do much more than hug women and smile charmingly. Ursula’s best friend, in keeping with her pubescent age, twirls like a flag in the wind, while Ursula’s parents are almost reduced to extras, even though the original film title “It’s over, Helmut” refers to the separation between Inge and her husband Helmut relates, announces otherwise. They all set the stage for the girl through whose eyes we observe the events that gradually become more and more absurd. If Petra Lüschow and colleagues hadn’t mastered their craft so perfectly, the viewer would definitely have switched off halfway through – so many obscure incidents in a film have to be staged authentically in order not to slip into the ridiculous. But at least here the makers are fully in their element. As bizarre as it all is, it still seems believable.

Conclusion: In “Good Girl Gone Bad”, director Petra Lüschow tells an authentic story from the 1980s about free love, non-violent protest and the aftermath of the Second World War. The attitude to life conveyed is the big plus point of a film that doesn’t always manage to reconcile the many topics.

“Good Girl Gone Bad” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from September 5th.

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