Comforting friendship arrives in the form of Melanie (Sabrina Luthi), who at 16 has been placed in foster care with the next-door neighbor. The two girls hit it off, Melanie providing some outlet for Sonia’s roiling emotions via mild juvenile delinquency and motorcycle rides. But when Melanie starts catching on to the trouble at hand, Manfred engineers her abrupt return to the reformatory. With Mom (now suspicious) packed off to a rest cure, Dad drags daughter off to grandparents’ country home for more abuse. But a runaway Melanie races to the rescue on her Harley.
Pic’s somber, naturalistic tone doesn’t lend this melodramatic wrap-up much credibility, and seeing juve protags ride off into the sunset is likewise a silly coda for a very serious theme. While subject is handled with taste, the father’s lack of character dimension ultimately renders him a stock bogeyman. As Sonia, Gotz has some trouble expressing Sonia’s more withdrawn and fearful states; other perfs are fine given screenplay’s limited depth. Tech work is pro, though a routine synth score underlines pic’s formulaic approach.