Alles ist gut [All Is Well] (2018)

Alles ist gut
Director: Eva Trobisch
Writer: Eva Trobisch
Cast: Aenne Schwarz, Andreas Döhler, Hans Löw, Tilo Nest, Lina Wendel, Lisa Hagmeister, Dagny Dewath, Thomas Gräßle
Seen on: 19.12.2018

Content Note: rape

Janne (Aenne Schwarz) and her boyfriend Piet (Andreas Döhler) run a publishing house together, but they are struggling. So when Janne returns to her hometown for a high school reunion and meets with Robert (Tilo Nest) who she used to babysit for, she is very happy that he offers her a job. Robert also introduces her to Martin (Hans Löw), his brother-in-law who is also going to the reunion. Janne and Martin party together and when they make their way from the reunion, Janne offers Martin to crash on her sofa. He accepts, misreads the invitation as a come-on and makes a pass at her. When Janne rebukes him, he doesn’t stop though: he rapes her. Janne decides that it’s no big deal and that she will just go on as if nothing has happened. But that’s not as easy as she thinks.

Rape is often a topic in films in many different ways. But I have never seen it dealt with as Alles ist gut deals with it: realistically, looking at the everyday nature of it. It is a really strong film.

The film poster showing Janne (Aenne Schwarz) dressed only in panties, standing in the hallway of an apartment building.

More often than not, when movies touch on rape, it’s with a lot of open brutality and violence. And if films actually deal with the fallout after a rape, it’s usually to look for strength in revenge, in making the women just as violent as what happened to them. Neither is the case here. The film stays firmly grounded in reality – most rapes in real life happen like this: no awful beatings, no weapons, no strangers making threats. Just a “normal guy” crossing the line. That, too, is rape and isn’t any less horrible – and both Martin and Janne know it.

Afterwards, Janne tries to find her strength not by turning to violence herself, not by becoming more than she was, but by desperately trying not to let the rape become a defining moment for her, but instead turning to her routines and refusing to acknowledge any impact that the incident may have had.

Janne (Aenne Schwarz) lying in bed, looking depressed.

In that way, the film puts its finger right on the line between suppression and not giving a traumatic event more power over yourself than strictly necessary. It really digs into the question of how much space you have to give a trauma to, on the one hand, still function and, on the other hand, work on and through the hurt it caused – to actually deal with. It was fascinating to see the film work through it and any conclusions it may (or may not) come to.

Aenne Schwarz is absolutely fantastic in the role, and I have to say I’m very impressed that this is Trobisch’s debut feature as a director. It feels much more mature than you’d ever expect from a first feature. The only thing that felt not so much in tune with the rest of the film and that may be attributed to a lack of experience is the ending for Martin – that was a bit much. But it’s just a small misstep in an otherwise great film.

Janne (Aenne Schwarz) talking to Martin (Hans Löw).

Summarizing: Excellent and thought-provoking.

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