Wie man leben soll [The Way to Live] (2011)

Wie man leben soll
Director: David Schalko
Writer: David Schalko, Thomas Maurer
Based on: Thomas Glavinic‘ novel
Cast: Axel Ranisch, Robert Stadlober, Thomas Stipsits, Marion Mitterhammer, Bibiana Zeller, Josef Hader, Emily Cox, David Wurawa, Michael Ostrowski, Lukas Resetarits, Robert Palfrader, Thomas Müller, Thomas Maurer, Elisabeth Engstler, Armin Wolf, Roberto Blanco, Oliver Baier

Charlie Kolostrum (Axel Ranisch) is a “sitter”, according to one of his self-help books. Not a doer, but one of the people who sit around waiting for things to happen. So he sits through school where he is in love with his girlfriend’s (Stefanie Reinsperger) best friend (Katharina Strasser), mostly ignored by his mother (Marion Mitterhammer) and overfed by his aunt (Bibiana Zeller). And then he sits through university, where he studies Art History [not because he has a particular interest but because according to the study adviser (Michael Ostrowski) is has the prettiest women – and that’s everything Charlie can muster some kind of enthusiasm]. Dividing his time between uni and his membership in the socialist students union the years pass.

Wie man leben soll is by no means a bad movie but I didn’t really like it a whole lot because I just couldn’t stand Charlie. But despite that the film had its moments.

I read the novel a few years back (when everyone was reading the novel AND Thomas Glavinic had his great start) and I have to admit that I remember nothing about it. Well, I did remember that I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, but nothing else. While watching the film things starting to come back to me – namely my immense dislike of Charlie.

If it wasn’t for him and my personal antipathy towards him, the film would probably receive glowing reviews from me. But it just doesn’t work when you can’t, at least in some way, identify with Charlie. And I couldn’t.

The cast was really good. There’s almost the entire who’s who of Austrian actors in the movie and that really pays. Especially Josef Hader (who has me laughing with only a look) and Robert Palfrader who is amazing when he gets irascible.

And the film is full with little touches that I just loved. Charlie gives us formulas or rules of thumb that are amazing, and there are various people (like Kant) popping up giving commentary on the whole thing.

But in the end, just as Charlie, the story is going nowhere and that just drove me insane.

Summarising: Not for me, but probably everyone else who doesn’t have my hang-ups.

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