Der Junge muss an die frische Luft [All About Me] (2018)

Der Junge muss an die frische Luft [literally: The Boy Needs Some Fresh Air]
Director: Caroline Link
Writer: Ruth Toma, Caroline Link
Based on: Hape Kerkeling‘s autobiogaphy
Cast: Julius Weckauf, Luise Heyer, Sönke Möhring, Hedi Kriegeskotte, Joachim Król, Ursula Werner, Rudolf Kowalski, Diana Amft, Elena Uhlig, Maren Kroymann, Martina Eitner-Acheampong, Thomas Loibl, Hape Kerkeling
Seen on: 1.1.2019

Hape (Julius Weckauf) is eight when he and his parents (Luise Heyer, Sönke Möhring) move from the more rural area of his paternal grandparents (Ursula Werner, Joachim Król) to his maternal grandparents (Hedi Kriegeskotte, Rudolf Kowalski) in the city. Hape is a goodhearted, but a little awkward child who quickly discovers that he can charm his entire family – and he has many relatives – and everybody else by being funny. So humor becomes his constant companion, even when things turn very hard indeed.

Der Junge muss an die frische Luft was an excellent start to the cinematic year. Funny and touching and with an extra-ordinary performance by Weckauf, it is everything it should be.

The film poster showing Hape (Julius Weckauf) in a white shirt, his head in his hands.

Hape Kerkeling is a famous German comedian. I was vaguely aware of him, but I haven’t seen much of his comedy, nor have I read the autobiography this is based on. But at least the movie feels very honest in its portrayal of little Hape, telling his story with sweet frankness.

It’s a film about how, when family is good, it really is the best. There is nothing that comes close to the love and care a good family provides (by that I don’t mean the biological family necessarily – chosen/found families are equally valid), especially for children. It is easy to see how differently Hape would have reacted to the bad things that happen in his life (and there are quite a few) if he hadn’t had the back-up of his family. The family’s warmth here is ever present and it is wonderful.

Hape (Julius Weckauf) dressed like an older woman, holding a cigarette.

Almost as wonderful as Julius Weckauf who was pretty much a revelation. Such a young boy in such a difficult role – playing not only Hape, but also all the characters that Hape plays and having to go from being laugh out loud funny to quietly emotional moments. And Weckauf does it all with energy and charm to spare. It is great to see.

A lot of the film hinges on him, but not everything. Link gives the film the right emotional tone and her production design team brought the 70s alive again in a loving way, making the film enjoyable from the first minute to the last. I laughed and I cried and I loved it.

Hape (Julius Weckauf) cuddling with his grandma Änne (Hedi Kriegeskotte).

Summarizing: wonderfully warm.

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