Director: Gerhard Ertl, Sabine Hiebler
Writer: Gerhard Ertl, Sabine Hiebler
Based on: Cornelia Travnicek’s novel
Cast: Anna Posch, Markus Subramaniam, Thomas Schubert, Steffi Reinsperger, Susi Stach, Lola Khittl
Seen on: 30.9.2015
Punk Mae (Anna Posch) has spent a lot of time on the streets with her friends, because she definitely didn’t want to spend time with her mother (Susi Stach). Or school. Not after her brother’s death. That’s also the reason that she moved into an abandoned house with her friends. Mae has to do community service hours in the HIV/Aids center in Vienna. There she meets Paul (Markus Subramaniam) who is a patient there and irresistible. Without much ado, Mae packs her bags and moves in with him.
Chucks was a nice film that deviates quite a bit from the novel its based on – and usual to its own and Mae’s detriment. While the film was enjoyable, it never quite reaches the book’s level.
The changes to the book were mostly done to simplify Mae and make her more accessible. In the book, she can’t always be understood and that’s very much part of her charm. In the film they whittle down her edges. She has to do community service because she sprayed, not because she beat somebody up. She isn’t living with Jakob (Thomas Schubert) alone as a couple, but rather in a shared apartment with a few friends, before she goes to live with Paul. There is no trace of the homoeroticism of her relationship with Mara (Steffi Reinsperger) anymore. Even her poetry slam reading isn’t a failed experiment but a success. And in the end Mae’s aimlessness is transformed int her being a successful author, slowly being incorporated by society again, as if a healthy person is one who doesn’t rebel.
All those changes in the film made me appreciate the book and Mae’s unusualness there even more. Although I could also go along with certain changes quite easily. for example the fact that Paul isn’t white was pretty awesome (and very rare in an Austrian film, at least when it isn’t a plot point). Generally the casting was excellent – it’s never easy to find the right fit of actors for characters we know from books, but I thought that they did exceedingly well here. And the actors themselves were also really good, with Anna Posch a shining center (and I don’t just mean that because if the awesome hair).
There is a lot to like about the film – like Mae’s knitting – but I just never connected with the story as much as I did with the book. I didn’t even cry during the film, although I’m an easy crier when it comes to movies and this is a sobby story. (I cried during the book though.)
Nevertheless I enjoyed myself and I can imagine that the film will appeal to teens in particular. Personally, I’d rather read the book again though.