A tedious and unnecessary film which compares unfavourably with the far superior "Heinrich" by Helma Sanders-Brahms. The glacial approach seems unappropiate and dishonest regarding Kleist's actual letters, turning the film into a schematic gimmick.
Ah, the Romantics. When the death poet starts sniffing around your wife, tell him to pound sand. Oh, and "I beg your pardon, but I was wondering if we could postpone the murder/suicide pact until I get a second opinion?"
"My soul is ill with weariness and solitude. It's the fault of my foolish disposition, that can only enjoy what cannot be. I'm no good at life. But I don't want to die alone, without love. So I seek the joy of finding a kindred soul, who understands my suffering, and is like me, so that we can die together." Almost feels like I am being quoted in this film :D
There's a good deal more Hammershøi than, say, Friedrich or Runge in this painterly parody of a romantic horror show, in which the line between boredom and despair can seem to assume, in the right light and with the proper musical accompaniment, the dimensions of a gate giving way to a greener eternity.
Oddly compelling period-piece delving into the world of social etiquette, medical hocus-pocus, politics and the concerns of the bourgeois in a fresh and intriguing manner. Lofty Romantic notions of love flail about in the real world striving to find a surface to stick to our troubled lead characters. A wonderful low budget achievement. 3 stars
Dunno what's worst: seeing yourself in one's poetry (not only getting "it" but Being like that: your heart being wired the same way, your skin goose-bumping thusly) or being like a poet & feeling Exactly like him or her :/ Every time Kleist spoke, my eyes rolled. Yet, during this somber melancholic film I still managed to laugh hard at Henriette's mother uttering "I prefer Goethe a thousand times" > Oh no you didn't!
In 1977, Helma Sanders-Brahms made a beautiful film on the same subject ("Heinrich"), that with Thomas Mauch's cinematography gave back an idea(l) of literature to the film chromaticism. That film is forgotten and now comes an artistic school-exercise to review the same situation with a reducer "good behavior". As Percy Adlon's "Celeste" for "Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach", lasts one pretty academicist vision.
TIFF '14 Hausner takes us in a cold direction that her previous work only hinted at in this chilly tale of poet von Kleist and Henriette Vogel. This is a chamber piece that often feels like impressionistic painting come to life. Low key and mesmerizing, cold but strangely passionate. The insular world of parlor life and social propriety is well captured. Hausner continues to surprise.