Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben [literally: My Blind Date with Life]
Director: Marc Rothemund
Writer: Oliver Ziegenbalg, Ruth Toma
Based on: Saliya Kahawatte‘s autobiography
Cast: Kostja Ullmann, Jacob Matschenz, Anna Maria Mühe, Johann von Bülow, Nilam Farooq, Ludger Pistor, Kida Khodr Ramadan, Herbert Forthuber, Michael A. Grimm
Seen on: 16.2.2017
Sali (Kostja Ullmann) has dreamed of working in a hotel since the childhood holidays he spent in Sri Lanka, where his father is from. But shortly before he is done with school, his eyesight suddenly becomes very bad. After surgery, all he is left with is about 5% of his sight. But Sali is determined to succeed anyway. He finishes school despite everything and when he gets the chance to work at a noble hotel in Munich, he decides to just not tell them that he can’t see all that well anymore. But that doesn’t necessarily make things any easier.
Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben is a sweet film, though not one that warrants rave reviews. Despite its being inspiration porn, I enjoyed watching it, but it didn’t touch me very deeply.
Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben is based on a true story, but they did take some liberties with the story, as far as I know. It’s certainly trimmed to be inspiration porn: the poor disabled person who overcomes all odds to achieve even the most mundane things, to teach ablebodied people that everybody can achieve their dreams, but never challenging a system that makes being disabled so difficult in the first place.
If you can stomach that particular trope, Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben will give you a sweet film, albeit one that is utterly predictable. Plot developments are paint-by-numbers like when you see the grumpy teacher for the first time, you know that by the end, he will be congratulating Sali. Characters are paint-by-numbers, too: the horndog of a best friend who gets to make all the sexual objectification, so the movie doesn’t have to do without that, but the moral integrity of the protagonist isn’t tainted. The love interest is super-patient and super-nice and super-forgiving and basically just waits until the protagonist has himself together enough to be worthy of her.
Still, there were some nice moments in the film. The music was really nice. The cast wasn’t bad. Ullmann himself has Indian/Sri-Lankan roots (according to wikipedia, his mother was born in India but lives in Sri Lanka, I don’t know if her family is originally from Sri Lanka or India) which is good. Of course, it would have been even better if they had found an actually disabled person to play the role. But some acknowledgement is due for not white-washing at least.
90 minutes would have probably been enough to tell the story – 110 minutes seemed overly long in any case. But even so, Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben is mostly watchable and entertaining.
Summarizing: it’s okay.