×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Coming of Age

A love story between octogenarians, "Coming of Age" avoids the mawkishness and condescending cuteness often brought to such stories, arriving at a clear-eyed result that's touchingly real.

With:
With: Karl Merkatz, Christine Ostermayer, Erni Mangold, Branko Samarovski, Joseph Lorenz, Susi Stach, Claudia Martini.

A love story between octogenarians, “Coming of Age” avoids the mawkishness and condescending cuteness often brought to such stories, arriving at a clear-eyed result that’s touchingly real. This latest project from longtime Austrian creative duo Sabine Hieber and Gerhard Ertl won the audience award for best feature at the Montreal World fest, and figures to attract interest from further fests, as well as niche offshore distribs. Broadcast is likely to prove the pic’s primary destination, and its pro but nondescript visual presentation won’t lose anything in smallscreen translation.

After refusing further debilitating treatment for terminal cancer at the hospital, petite, elegant, reserved Rosa (Christine Ostermayer) decides to return home to spend her last six months or so in peace. Upon her arrival, however, she discovers someone else already in residence: A well-meaning niece has (rather implausibly) already sold the flat, having assumed Rosa wouldn’t be coming back. Rosa is helplessly weeping on the sidewalk when spied by passer-by Bruno (Karl Merkatz), who offers a sympathetic shoulder and gets her temporarily settled in a nearby hotel.

Most reluctantly, she lets her niece transfer her to a residential facility for the elderly, where her well-guarded privacy is under constant assault. Seeking some relative quiet in a cafe one day, she once again crosses paths with Bruno, who’s been thinking about her ever since their last encounter. The instant attraction is mutual, and soon indulged frequently in Rosa’s room, despite all the prying eyes of gossipy fellow residents — and the fact that Bruno has a wife, Herta, of more than 50 years to consider.

It doesn’t take long for Herta (Erni Mangold) to realize it’s not doctor’s appointments that’s keeping her husband out at all hours, or for their grown children to take even greater offense at his betrayal. By then, however, the illicit couple is in too deep to quit. When Rosa suffers a relapse that puts her back in the hospital, Bruno busts her out and sets the two of them up in a rented apartment, to the chagrin of his family and her medical overseers.

For a while, at least, they’re giddy as kids in love cohabiting for the first time. To the writer-helmers’ credit, however, the realities of Rosa’s condition (or of being an untrained, elderly sole caregiver) aren’t glossed over; nor is the pain Bruno’s defection causes the spouse and children he’s left behind. While Rosa and Bruno may be late-meeting soulmates, that element of wish fulfillment doesn’t simply erase the complications of 80-odd years of prior living (though admittedly the pic doesn’t delve very deeply into their pasts).

The pic’s bittersweet impact is fully supported by the astute perfs (Merkatz won an actor prize at Montreal), economical writing and straightforward packaging, which is short on style but escapes drabness.

Coming of Age

Austria

Production: An NGF production. (International sales: NGF, Vienna.) Produced by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Markus Glaser, Michael Kitzberger, Wolfgang Widerhofer. Directed, written by Sabine Hieber, Gerhard Ertl.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Wolfgang Thaler; editor, Karin Hammer; music, Milos Todorovsi, Wolfgang Schloegl; production designer, Conrad Moritz Reinhardt; costume designer, Dietlin Rott; sound (Dolby Digital), Klaus Kellermann; sound designer, Konrad Glas; assistant director, Tobias Dorr; casting, Eva Roth. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (competing), Aug. 31, 2012. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Karl Merkatz, Christine Ostermayer, Erni Mangold, Branko Samarovski, Joseph Lorenz, Susi Stach, Claudia Martini.

More Film

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

  • Svensk Filmindustri SF Studios logo

    Warner Bros, SF Studios Expand Distribution Deal Across Scandinavia

    Warner Bros. Pictures has expanded its distribution deal with SF Studios to include Sweden and have their movies released by the Nordic major through all of Scandinavia. Warner Bros. Pictures already has a distribution pact with SF Studios in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Under the partnership, SF Studios has been handling the sales, marketing and [...]

  • Nicole Kidman Meryl Streep

    Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman to Star in Ryan Murphy's 'The Prom' at Netflix

    Ryan Murphy enlisted a star-studded cast for his upcoming Netflix movie “The Prom,” an adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, James Corden, Ariana Grande, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells are among the A-listers bringing “The Prom” to screens. “The Prom” follows a lesbian student in the fictional conservative town of [...]

  • Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Vaclav

    Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Václav Havel Biopic

    Viktor Dvorak has been cast in “Havel,” a biopic of Václav Havel, as the Czech playwright, dissident and national leader. Anna Geislerova, who starred in Oscar nominated “Zelary,” plays his wife, Olga Havlova. Jiri Bartoska, the president of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, will appear in the film as “Professor,” inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patocka. [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    'Bond 25' First Footage Sees Daniel Craig Back as 007

    After suffering a series of setbacks, including finding a new director and Daniel Craig’s on-set injury, “Bond 25” production is officially underway. A new behind-the-scenes clip of the upcoming James Bond film features Craig and helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga at work in the Caribbean. The minute-long footage didn’t reveal much about the still-untitled movie, though [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    ‘Roma,’ ‘The Good Girls’ Top Mexico’s Ariel Academy Awards

    The Mexican Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences hosted the 61st edition of their Ariel Awards on Monday evening, where Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” and Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls” stood out among the winners. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Cuarón’s “Roma” scooping best picture is that it’s only the second of his films to [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Already Pulled From Shanghai Festival, 'The Eight Hundred' Cancels Its China Release

    Already pulled from its prestigious spot as the opener of the Shanghai International Film Festival, war epic “The Eight Hundred” has been dealt a further below with the cancellation of its scheduled release in China next week. In a terse announcement on its official Weibo account, the film said late Tuesday that, “after consultation between [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content