Anna (Nina Hoss) is a violin teacher. At the auditions for the music school she works at, she sees – and hears – Alexander (Ilja Monti). She thinks he shows great promise, while her colleague (Sophie Rois) is less convinced. Now Anna has half a year to push Alexander to make his talent obvious to everyone. At the same time, her own son Jonas (Serafin Mishiev) shows less and less interest in his own violin practice and her husband Philippe (Simon Abkarian) struggles with Anna’s increasing distance.
Das Vorspiel is the perfect stage for Nina Hoss to deliver a stunning performance, but storywise it is a little unsatisfying.
The Audition is a wonderful character study. Anna is a complicated woman, her emotions lurking under her reserved surface of restraint. The relationships with the men – and boys – around her are equally complex and filled with both love and rejection, pressure and acceptance.
Hoss does a wonderful job with Anna and keeps you interested in the film, even when the story can’t keep up with the character. As the film doesn’t make much background or motivation explicit, Hoss’ grounds Anna and gives the audience the motivation to think about her and what things mean to her, even and especially when her behavior is pretty inexcusable.
That being said, the story that unfolds around Anna doesn’t really come together. There is a heaviness to the ending that seems to come out of nowhere and the drama that is present here, seems unnecessary. In fact, I’d argue that the ending of the film isn’t really an end: it just stops.
But even if the story and particularly its ending is a let-down, the rest of the film is not. It gives us an interesting woman you want to watch. Surprisingly, though, given the overall mood of the film, it is at its best when it is actually funny – there are a few of those that really stand out. Maybe Weisse will turn to a comedy next. I’d watch that.
Summarizing: Worth seeing, but not perfect.