Her directorial debut “SMS for You” was terrific. Now actress Karoline Herfurth is presenting her next work as a director and can share this excellent impression SWEETHEARTS confirm. We reveal in our review what makes the action comedy so worth seeing.
The Plot Summary
Two like fire and water: Franny (Karoline Herfurth) is completely disoriented both professionally and privately and has a strong tendency to panic attacks. In contrast, single mother Mel (Hannah Herzsprung) is a tough, self-sufficient woman who wants to make a better life for herself and her daughter by stealing a diamond. But as good as Mel’s plan is, the execution turns out to be suboptimal, and no one would have ever wanted her to take Franny hostage. Franny drives Mel crazy with her panic attacks and “your mother” jokes, while the tough SEK leader Ingrid von Kaiten (Anneke Kim Sarnau) is hot on their trail. And then there is the attractive police officer Harry (Frederick Lau), who not only completely turns Franny’s head, but is also taken as a second hostage. The chaos is perfect and as they try to maneuver their way out of the situation without causing any damage, an unexpected friendship develops between the two women.
Movie explanation of the ending
Only a few filmmakers who venture into the director’s chair after many years in their profession achieve critical success with their debut. Ryan Gosling’s debut feature “Lost River” was accused of being just a well-intentioned Nicholas Windng Refn homage. Nolan’s regular cameraman Wally Pfister had his “Transcendence” ripped right in the air. And the feature writers hardly gave a damn about Ewan McGregor’s drama “American Idyll”. When the advertising for Karoline Herfurth’s first novel in 2015 announced a similar debacle – the title “SMS for You” seemed old-fashioned in the age of WhatsApp and the like, the poster and trailers were endlessly cheesy – hardly anyone could imagine that her romantic comedy would be exactly like that that wouldn’t happen. But then her sincere discussion of the feeling of falling in love was immediately inspiring, not least because she used humor in very judicious doses and her ensemble was brimming with stars. Can such a stroke of luck be repeated? Obviously yes! And that’s because Herfurth doesn’t rely on exactly that: repetition. Her follow-up work “Sweethearts” only follows the previous film to a very limited extent, because with her new film the actress ventures into the action genre and presents a very purposefully staged action-thriller comedy that, despite all the escalation, always remains grounded.
Mel Hannah Herzsprung) and Franny (Karoline Herfurth) become friends on their odyssey.
If you look at the poster, you wouldn’t immediately think that “Sweethearts” is an action film that even contains a good portion of gangster thriller in its most exciting moments. This means that the marketing of a Karoline Herfurth film somehow remains true to itself; and that is unfortunate, because it definitely creates false expectations. But if we ignore the shockingly soft-focus poster, the screenwriter Monika Fäßler, who is making her debut here, makes it clear from the start what direction her script will take in the next hour and three quarters. After a short, contrasting introduction of the two protagonists – Franny is a scaredy-cat, Mel a tough gangster bride – the very different women meet directly when Mel in a very atmospherically staged scene, accompanied by Imagine Dragons’ smash hit “Thunder”, decides to take Franny hostage. From then on, a well-known motif of the unwilling accomplices who somehow find each other despite their differences emerges on the screen. On the other hand, Herfurth always stages this predetermined path in an unpredictable enough way so that you can never completely predict the outcome of the story.
This impression is further reinforced when the appearance of Police Officer Harry turns the duo into a Trio Infernale. Frederick Lau (“Playmaker”), who already played an important supporting role in “SMS für Dich” (in addition to him, Herfurth cast a few other returnees from her debut, but more on that later), embodies the official who slipped into this situation unexpectedly and skeptically, but also somehow fascinated Dryness that he is also responsible for the best gags. In addition, he complements the all too well-known buddy movie character constellation harmoniously and ensures that over time you no longer really recognize who is actually the supposedly good guy and who is the bad guy. Do the three work together? Do they pity each other? This question creates a tension that can hardly be estimated and is maintained until the end. Appropriately embodied by Karoline Herfurth (“The little witch”) and Hannah Herzsprung (“Don’t. Get. Out!”) her main characters Franny and Mel have the courage to take rough edges. While Franny’s scaredy-cat attitude could quickly become annoying in the hands of less capable actresses, Herfurth turns her into a believable bundle of nerves in which the kidnapping situation gradually releases unexpected powers. Mel is just as not one-dimensional: although one would tend to simply apply the saying about the hard shell and the soft core to her, Herzsprung puts so much effort into not letting the soft core come to the fore that it’s easy to sympathize has a hard time with her figure – and that’s exactly what makes her so interesting.
Police officer Harry (Frederick Lau) joins the two women.
In addition to Lau and Herfurth, there is also a reunion with Uwe Preuss (“This stupid heart”) and “Schillerstrasse” star Cordula Stratmann. Even if the latter simply repeats her appearance as a dry and assertive boss, she once again ensures that the cast is convincing across the board. Even for the smallest supporting roles, the makers have managed to bring in memorable faces. Among them was Anneke Kim Sarnau (“Simple”), who takes over the legacy of Katja Riemann in “Sweethearts”. In “SMS für Dich” she stole the show as an eccentric mix of Helene Fischer and Andrea Berg. This time it is Sarnau in the role of a tough police officer who wants to arrest the two women for all the world. She takes control of every scene with her performance and, especially in the middle section, which is a bit slow at times, she overcomes some bumps. This also includes the staging of the action scenes. Karoline Herfurth definitely has atmosphere and dynamics. But unfortunately the shootings and chases sometimes become confusing. This is not only due to the sometimes very shaky camera, but also to the hectic editing. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that with “Sweethearts” Karoline Herfurth managed to direct a film far away from the beaten (genre) path that feels fresh and surprising for almost two hours.
Conclusion: After “SMS for You”, Karoline Herfurth proves that as a director she can not only stage romance, but also high tension. Their action comedy “Sweethearts” is a stylish genre piece that is strongly acted and extremely funny in its best moments.
“Sweethearts” can be seen in USA cinemas from February 14th.