Charlotte (Henriette Confurius) and Caroline (Hannah Herzsprung) come from an noble but impoverished family. To keep themselves and their mother (Claudia Messner) afloat, Caroline entered a loveless but rich marriage, while Charlotte gets sent to court to find an equally suitable man. But instead Charlotte meets Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter), poor, unaristocratic poet, and falls in love and vice versa. When Friedrich visits her at home and meets Caroline, they also falls in love. The three of them soon become inseparable.
Die geliebten Schwestern tells a fascinating (and even true) story and it tells it very well. Towards the end it loses a little of its charm, but of all the movies I saw at the Viennale, this is the one I keep returning to the most.
Die geliebten Schwestern is a long film – almost three hours – but it manages to keep you glued to the screen for the most time. It is only towards the end that it falls apart a little, practically together with the threesome constellation. When they stop being a harmonious trio, it feels like the script stopped really understanding its characters and their wants and needs.
But that didn’t hurt the film much because not only is the story in general interesting and most of all the characters, especially the sisters are fascinating. I expected the film to be much more about Schiller, him being the really famous on in this constellation, but he is as much relegated to the sidelines as possible without becoming a plot device only and its all about the sisters, their relationship and their lives. [I should read more about them.]
The cast is generally good, but Hannah Herzsprung and Henriette Confurius really blew me away. Both on their own and as sisters they are completely convincing. And Claudia Messner as their mother is the icing on the cake. It made me want to write scripts for Messner. Maybe I will.
While it is beautifully shot, it sometimes becomes a little obvious (the connection to the French revolution, for example, was a little too conspicuous). But in a film that manages to balance drama and humor in an interesting story about intriguing characters, these moments are easily forgiven. Instead you can easily focus on the great film.