A family made a film about a family in which most of the family members play themselves: it’s an interesting approach that enhances the authenticity of the story Parents – Wir Eltern approaches his viewers. But it’s not at all suitable for an entertaining cinema experience. We’ll tell you more about this in our review.
The Kamber-Grubers’ twin sons have no prospects.
The plot summary
The parents Vero (Elisabeth Niederer) and Michi (Eric Bergkraut) believe they have done everything right. But little by little they allow their lives to be paralyzed by their late-pubescent twin sons. Neither point lists nor penalties help. Romeo (Ruben Bergkraut) and Anton (Elia Bergkraut) can hardly get out of bed and rarely go to school. They casually play the overwhelmed parents against each other, smoking weed or gaming on the computer for hours. When they receive a generous inheritance advance from their grandfather (Peter Schweiger) as a birthday present, which encourages the children even less to finally take care of their future, life together becomes even more difficult. Until the parents pull the emergency brake in an unconventional way…
Since we all live in sometimes more, sometimes less intact relationships and family relationships, these are also the topics that comedies particularly like to joke about. After all, sooner or later one can always identify with one of the observations made, even if the situation described seems no matter how absurd. The Swiss comedy “We Parents” also tells in a supposedly humorous way about the events that get out of hand within a family of five (just look at the film poster, which is reminiscent of films like “Welcome to the Hartmanns” ), it even became conceived and directed by the Bergkraut family, whose members, with the exception of mother Vero, played by Elisabeth Niederer, all play themselves, but in the film go by the last name Kamber-Gruber. So you would think that “We Parents” is particularly authentic. And the film is the closest thing to authenticity. But this attribute alone is not enough for a successful cinema experience. The project is as far away from that as pubescents are from a constant emotional life.
Romeo and Anton (Ruben & Elia Bergkraut) outgrow their parents Michi and Vero (Eric Bergkraut & Elisabeth Niederer).
It doesn’t take long before the tense situation within the Kamber-Gruber family spills out onto the screen with pleasure. The kids are constantly disinterested in their surroundings, especially their parents. And these same parents are just as annoyed by their lazy offspring. However, the fact that you never get a feeling – not even at the beginning, for example in the form of a picture montage – of how things could be (or used to be!) within the family, as long as everyone sticks to the agreements, is a challenge completely wrong foundation for the hour and a half that followed. Since we never know whether the Kamber-Grubers like each other at all (the parents seem familiar, but actually only have the children’s problems as a constant topic anyway, the kids, on the other hand, behave in a typical teenage attitude, just annoyingly), we don’t know at all That’s right, which is why you should actually watch the illustrious goings-on for so long. Finally, the lifelike shaky camera (Stéphane Kuthy), which foregoes any stylistic exaggeration, gives “We Parents” a documentary feel rather than a feature film, which is underlined by the real statements and analyzes from family educators and researchers that appear in between.
“Parents – Wir Eltern” is the closest thing to authenticity. But this attribute alone is not enough for a successful cinema experience.”
But the sometimes very interesting observations of the interviewers – with one brief exception, all of them male – are symptomatic of why “We Parents” lives up to its advertising promise of “outrageously realistic”, but is far from being a comedy. As is well known, comedies are characterized by the fact that situational comedy, wordplay or absurdity in interpersonal interaction at least make you smile. However, none of that is the case here. Eric Bergkraut, who has previously worked in the documentary segment, and his directing and screenwriting colleague Ruth Schweikert stoically follow a family being a family – the experts’ comments finally give the descriptions a universal validity. But why watch a family that has been described over and over again as “completely normal” squabbling at each other when for many viewers that might not be so far removed from reality (perhaps that’s one of the points the makers are joking about). hope!?) – and the other part is happy not to have to deal with something like that? And if the audience doesn’t have a sense of how this family relates to each other, unless they’re constantly at each other’s throats, how are they supposed to know that they’re worth spending a feature-length film with?
If you want to argue that “Parents – Wir Eltern” is particularly authentic because of this, you may not be wrong. However, for a film of this caliber, the documentary genre is much more suitable than the feature film, which in this case suffers from the lack of dramaturgy. In the figure drawing, “Parents – Wir Eltern” reveals another major weak point. As written here, one relies on the greatest possible simplification within the characters. There is no such thing as good and evil, which the characters could be broken down into. This is not the case given the plot. The script also allows the parents to make mistakes, and the teens, who are already pushed into a one-sided troublemaker role, are allowed to have their own understandable problems and fears. Nevertheless, both parties remain completely one-dimensional, which is particularly not good for the supposedly universal perspective of parents: Vero and Michi literally wallow in self-pity, which means they lose the last remnants of sympathy from the audience – and thus do not reflect well on parents throw yourself.
“But why watch a family that has been described over and over again as “completely normal” squabbling at each other, when for many viewers this may not be that far away from reality – and which the other part is happy to deal with “Not having to fight something around?”
This is also due to the fact that both Eric Bergkraut and Elisabeth Niederer (“The cloud”) as well as the boys’ actors acting as if they were actually simply being filmed in their personal family life, is after all one of the big plus points of “We Parents”. Nevertheless, the ultimate question remains what the film is trying to achieve. You really don’t have to go to the cinema to get wise advice from family researchers and see what normal life is like for a stressful family.
Conclusion: As authentic as “Parents – Wir Eltern” may depict the life of a Swiss family, Eric Bergkraut and Ruth Schweikert present their story in a less cinematic way. The film could also be a documentary. However, one about truly obnoxious people – and that doesn’t just apply to lazy children.
“Parents – Wir Eltern” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from July 16th.