somehow simple. It's a powerful story, and a great movie.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The Exhilaration and Devastation of First LoveOct. 22 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
'Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken' ('Love in Thoughts'), while based on a true incident in Berlin in 1927, is a story about the confusion of adolescent hormonally driven needs and desires brought to the screen by director Achim von Borries based on a dramatization by Hendrik Handloegten, Annette Hess and Alexander Pfeuffer of the Steglitz Student murders. It is as much a tale of the decadent 20s in the Berlin that would breed the Nazi Party as it is a stirring thriller. And if think back to the times of this story, a similar theme was being played out in this country under the names of Leopold and Loeb! Strange crossover...
Paul (Daniel Brühl) is a student poet from a working class family who makes friends with Günther (August Diehl) who is a gay and wild romantic from the wealthy class. Their common thread is their sense of rebellion against their families and the need for Byronic defiance in a world they find shallow. The make a 'suicide pact' - that once they discover true happiness in love, and knowing that true love cannot be repeated, they will commit suicide.
The two lads go to the country home for a weekend party of drinking and carousing. Günther brings along his love Hans (Thure Lindhardt), a kitchen worker clearly not in Günther's social class, who begins having a sexual liaision with Hilde (Anna Maria Mühe), Günther's lusty, superficial, hedonistic sister. Paul is in love with Hilde, but at the party he observes her acts of sexual freedom and turns to plain Elli (Jana Pallaske) for his initial sexual encounter. When Günther realizes he has lost Hans to Hilde, the options of the 'suicide pact' play out in a gruesome way. Paul is left to tell the story, later becoming a novelist (condemned by the Nazis and thrown into exile).
Achim von Borries manages to recreate this sick tale with all the feeling of Weimar decadence. It takes a while to get the characters straight, but once they are in place the development of each has a fearsome momentum. The young cast is excellent. It is refreshing to see a film that includes a gay main character whose sexuality is at the core of his life but at the same time the story is not focused on the gay character so much as being focused on all youth in a cumbersome time in history and in adolescent physiology! The film is in German with English subtitles and presents the actual events of the case in writing on the screen after the story is completed. Very Effective. Grady Harp, October 05
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
gorgeous actors, gorgeous sceneryDec 21 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
This is based on a true story in Germany in the 1920s (we are told), and I can believe it. We are told there was a suicide club and someone must be dead because we seem to be involved in a police interrogation with a confession. And then we get the long flashback. Attractive young people go to a house in the country for a weekend party of drinking and flirting. Who loves whom? What are these relationships? Which character is secretly in love with whom? Who is going to have sex with whom? Absinthe makes an appearance. People drink too much. It's quite obvious that some of the relationships are gay and some are straight.
The ending is not a surprise. We are told at the end what happened to certain characters in real life. I found the whole thing very satisfying. The actors are gorgeous. Blond hair, blond sunshine. The scenery is gorgeous. The story is well-told. I can fully recommend this one.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Golden Swan DiveJune 29 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
Achim von Borries directed this German picture based on a real incident. He was able to find work directing a TV show episode after "Love in Thoughts" was completed. August Diehl who has played in European films such as "The Counterfeiter" & "Nothing But Ghosts" won the German Film Critics Association Best Actor Award for his portrayal of Gunther, son of a wealthy family. Daniel Bruhl who has also filmed many European features including "Two Days in Paris" this year and "A Friend of Mine" last year plays the poor poet Paul who Gunther befriends. The film was a bit confusing since Gunther makes longing looks at his friend Paul, but as the story unfolds is supposed to really have an infatuation for a cook named Hans. Gunther's sister Hilde is played by Anna Maria Muhe who won the *coveted Golden Swan Best Actress Award at the Copenhagen International Film Festival for this film. Hilde strikes up a romantic flirtation with Paul and then jilts him for Hans claiming that she doesn't want to be with only one man. She does this before actually "being" with Paul; so the audience is quite as confused as Paul. Paul then seeks solace in the arms of Hilde's friend Elli played by Jana Pallaske whose lips seem to occupy an unusually large portion of her face. Thure Lindhardt plays Hans who seems to romantically attack Gunther before tossing him over for Hilde. The relationships in the film take themselves quite seriously, but no character loves just one person.
Hilde likes Hans & Paul Gunther likes Hans & Paul Paul likes Hilde & Elli Hans likes Hilde & Gunther
The biggest hole seems to be why Paul is hanging out with Gunther. Maybe being poor he's impressed by wealth. Despite the cover with August Diehl and Daniel Bruhl frolicking in a meadow with open shirts, Paul seems hardly attached to Gunther as a friend, barely making an attempt to take the gun away from him. The film is visually interesting in period costumes. However, the motivations & romantic attachments of the characters are muddy and confusing. By the film's end, we're glad it's over. The story is told in flashback; so we generally know something tragic will happen. Unfortunately, it isn't that interesting to watch. Taxi!
*I'd never heard of this award before. It sounds like something Claire Danes should win.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
But don't get TOO comfortableNov. 4 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
Anyone following the career of Daniel Brühl will want to see this film, especially anyone who felt, rightly, cheated by Brühl's walk-on in "The Bourne Ultimatum." "Love in Thoughts" takes a rather moralistic view of a handful of young people in the years between World Wars I and II. Like young people in movies tend to do, these fall in love too hard and learn to regret it. Paul loves Hilde and Günther loves Hans, but Hilde and Hans love themselves. A fifth character, or wheel, is Elli, who just wants to be loved, period. Paul and Günther, however, who have nothing in common but who have inexplicably been friends since childhood, make a pact to commit suicide once they have known one happy moment in their short lives. Well, it's the sort of thing kids do. The problem is that there is only so much happpiness to go around, and Günther, to say the least, misses out on all of it. Or perhaps he was happy romping through the woods with his Platonic boyhood friend? The movie doesn't really do much with motivation. When Paul closes the door in one crucial scene, what really happens is between him and his conscience, no matter what the courts later say. "Love in Thoughts" is based on a true incident, and the viewer is left with one of those "where are they now?" postscripts that doesn't really add much to our understanding of the film. What I did like, in addition to seeing Daniel Brühl get a relatively meaty role, were the music and the cinematography. The former was a witty addition to an otherwise far too sober screenplay, while the latter put me in mind of a similar trip down memory lane in "Atonement." Don't dig for any deeper meaning: we do not learn why Germany's youth embraced Nazism in the '30s, for instance (Really, we DON'T). But do look for a credible time-passer, especially on DVD, where, in the comfort of your living room, the film's leisurely pace should not lead to ennui (the perils of which are on constant parade in the film itself) and you will be free to enjoy the acting skills of a fine troop of young German actors, all of whom acquit themselves quite handsomely.