(director/writer: Eva Trobisch; cinematographer: Adrian Campean; editor: Laura Lauzemis; music: Armin Badde; cast: Minna Wundrich (Ivo), Pia Hierzegger (Solveigh), Lukas Turtur (Franz); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Lucas Schmidt, Lasse Scharpen, Wolfgang Cimera; Studio Zentral; 2024-Germany-in German & English with English subtitles)

“At its best when it makes you feel uncomfortable.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is the second film directed by the emerging new German filmmaker Eva Trobisch (“All is Good”). It’s an unsentimental drama that relates to the daily heaviness of life for a dedicated care-giver nurse named Ivo (Minna Wundrich). She travels by car treating many terminally-ill patients in their homes across Germany, using the car to refresh herself between visits. One of those patients is her old friend Solveigh (Pia Hierzegger).

Ivo is a forty-something single mom of a teen-ager. She hides her emotions behind her professionalism, as she treats patients for their pain and consults with them and their families about their illness. But she’s a lonely person, emotionally overwhelmed by her thankless job, one that has taken a heavy toll on her.

Ivo is no angel. She violates the nurse’s code of conduct by having an affair with Franz (Lukas Turtur), Solveigh’s husband. Later she will assist Solveigh as she takes her life.

The visuals are powerful, the drama is insufferable. Life proves to be messy, and without absolutes.

This is an intelligent narrative that presents a cloying morality play at work, that is unflinching in its view of modern-day life–as it refuses to box people into corners as it asks them impossible questions, such as if its really wise to always preserve life at all costs, or to be an advocate for assisted-suicides (something I endorse), or how to deal with their alienation and long-time loneliness and still function in society.

It’s an attitude film that’s at its best when it makes you feel uncomfortable and makes you look within to see yourself as you might really be when you are forced to hide your secrets.

It played at the Berlin Film Festival.

REVIEWED ON 5/10/2024  GRADE: A-