In Holy Lands (de. Die Wurzeln des Glücks) Director and author Amanda Sthers dissects a family with communication problems, but the auteur filmmaker gets over the many topics touched on here. In the end, unfortunately, it all remains very superficial. We reveal more about this in our review.
Annabelle Rosenmerck (Efrat Dor) on the way to a wild affair with an unclear outcome.
The plot summary
A few years ago, the grumpy head of the family, Harry Rosenmeck (James Caan), left his wife and children behind in New York to build a new life in Israel and from then on raise pigs. Nobody knows exactly why. But communication within the Rosenmecks has stalled not only since Harry’s departure. People write letters to each other rather than talk to each other. Both the successful theater director David (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Annabelle (Efrat Dor), who lives in the daytime, and mother Monica (Rosanna Arquette) have many problems that they would like to share with each other. Harry, on the other hand, is primarily confronted with his Muslim and Jewish neighbors, who have a huge problem with the old man’s pig breeding. And the day will come when the Rosenmecks will have to talk to each other again and maybe even finally solve one or two problems…
Holy Lands Movie Meaning & ending
The Paris-born director and screenwriter Amanda Sthers has only directed three feature films, but has already shown a preference for microcosms. Her debut “Je vais te manquer” was about an airport, “Madame – Not the Fine Art” was about the upper ten thousand and in her latest work “Holy Lands” she takes on a family that she lives in dissected for a slim ninety minutes. The topic she raises here about a lack of communication is not reinventing the wheel; In film families, a clarifying conversation would often solve many problems at once, which are needed to tell cinematic stories. What’s refreshing, on the other hand, is the approach that, on the one hand, the characters are scattered to the four winds and, on the other hand, they know full well that they have completely failed when it comes to communication. And watching the well-known cast carry out this calm story is also a lot of fun. Nevertheless, Sthers excels enormously in her ambitiously extensive project, as she sometimes touches on topics that never come to an end and thus degenerate into an end in themselves.
Harry’s wife Monica Rosenmerck (Rosanna Arquette) receives a life-changing diagnosis.
As a result, “Holy Lands” really strains the audience’s patience, especially in the early stages. With her approach of viewing the individual family members as isolated as possible – a consistent idea in view of their very isolated lives – the auteur filmmaker repeatedly disrupts the dramaturgy and dynamics of her film. The fates of all the Rosenmecks are actually interesting: the homosexual son is denied the adoption of a child, daughter Annabelle is looking for herself and her mother and Harry’s ex-wife Monica receives an everything-changing illness diagnosis from the doctor. So it’s fair to say: This family is completely screwed; and when in doubt, Sthers always goes the extra mile to never leave any doubt about it. But Sthers ultimately only gives Harry the time necessary for a balanced consideration of all the narrative strands; And here, of all places, the problems seem much more constructed than with his various family members. At the beginning he only has a few skirmishes with his neighbors, in the end he even finds himself the target of a real witch hunt with blood sacrifice, which is more of a side note in terms of the production. After all, his storyline has the strongest cast member available in James Caan (“Misery”) . Caan shows how he manages to first establish Harry as a fairly despicable fellow and gradually expose his soft core, far from any clichés.
The rest of the ensemble also does a very good job, but they don’t always have the opportunity to show off their full potential. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“The 12th Man”) plays the torn theater star absolutely believably, but unlike Caan, Meyers doesn’t allow you to look behind his facade. His character’s screen time is simply too short and his characterization is limited to the existence of a homosexual who is not allowed to adopt a child. Meanwhile, his fear of intimacy is dealt with in a single scene; especially when he doesn’t even want to visit his dying mother. That’s really cliched and superficial. Rosanna Arquette ( “Pulp Fiction”) drew a similar fate . She also has some of the strongest scenes on her side (keyword: restaurant), but is also often left alone by the script. Nevertheless, at the end of “Holy Lands” everything becomes a coherent whole, as Amanda Sthers once again knows how to use a few but concise sentences to build a connection between the viewer and the film character – and here, finally, between the characters are closer at the end of the film than at the beginning, without giving you the feeling that the film was solely about that.
Conclusion: Equipped with a star ensemble, the tragicomedy “Holy Lands”, conceived and conceived by Amanda Sthers, tells the story of a family that has forgotten how to communicate between people. Unfortunately, she mainly resorts to platitudes and just scratches at surfaces, so that you never get as close to the characters as you need to.
Holy Lands can be seen in selected USA cinemas from September 5th.