A summertime coming-of-ager centered on a German teen’s crush on a married, worldly neighbor, “Sooner or Later” semi-succeeds on a level not intended by the filmmakers — as a low-key satire of Berlin’s suburban bourgeoisie. At its Locarno preem, crix were split over whether the banal dialogue and sometimes awkward acting were deliberate or not. Whatever the case, debuting helmer-writer Ulrike von Ribbeck brings little new to the adolescent table, signaling a quiet ride into theatrical adulthood.
The 14-year-old daughter of a conservative father and livelier mom (Peter Lohmeyer and Beata Lehmann), gawky Nora (Lola Klamroth, Lohmeyer’s real-life daughter) falls for failed actor Thomas (Harald Schrott) when he moves in next door. Thomas has an eye for the moody teen, while Nora’s dad seethes with repressed dislike of the slick newcomer. Alas, Nora doesn’t know Thomas was her mom’s onetime lover, or that her mom’s currently being romanced by a fellow student in her adult university course. Finally, all the middle-class secrets and lies come tumbling out. Schrott and Lehmann provide some color, while Klamroth drifts through pic in a one-expression, hormonal daze. Blow-up from Super-16 is bright but grainy.
— Derek Elley