×
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.

Popular on Variety

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

  • Hadley Robinson Amy Poehler

    'Little Women' Actress Hadley Robinson to Star in Amy Poehler's 'Moxie'

    “Utopia” and “Little Women” actress Hadley Robinson has been tapped to star in Amy Poehler’s next directorial effort “Moxie.” Lauren Tsai is also on board to co-star in the Netflix movie. “Moxie” follows a teenage girl (Robinson) from a small town who is inspired by her mother’s Riot Girl past and starts a feminist revolution [...]

  • Samara Weaving

    'G.I. Joe' Spinoff 'Snake Eyes' Adds 'Ready or Not's' Samara Weaving

    Samara Weaving will join Henry Golding in the “G.I. Joe” spinoff, “Snake Eyes.” Haruka Abe, Ursula Corbero, Iko Uwais and Andrew Koji have also boarded the Paramount, Skydance and AllSpark movie. “The Captain” director Robert Schwentke is helming and Brian Goldner is producing. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who wrote “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s [...]

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' to Screen at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre

    Netflix’s “The Irishman,” directed by Martin Scorsese, will screen at American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood  for two weeks starting Nov. 1. The screenings, announced Monday, are part of the limited theatrical run for the 209-minute crime drama, which premiered at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 27. Netflix will begin streaming “The Irishman” on [...]

  • Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Nominations 2019

    'Biggest Little Farm' Nabs Seven Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Nominations

    “The Biggest Little Farm” leads nominees for the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, with seven bids, followed by “Apollo 11” and “They Shall Not Grow Old.” “One Child Nation” received five nominations. The winners will be presented their awards at a gala, hosted by Property Brothers’ Jonathan Scott, on Nov. 10 at BRIC in [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Abominable Animated Movie

    Vietnam Pulls DreamWorks' 'Abominable' Over Contested Territorial Claims

    Vietnam has banned DreamWorks Animation’s new co-produced feature “Abominable” from its cinemas due to a scene involving a map that depicts China’s contested territorial claims in the South China Sea. The move comes as U.S. entertainment firms such as the NBA, Disney and gaming firm Activision Blizzard are under intense fire from U.S. fans, activists [...]

  • The Captain

    China Box Office: 'The Captain' Flies to $340 Million After Two Weeks of Release

    Patriotic thriller “The Captain” held on to the top spot at the Chinese box office for the second weekend, again leading from propaganda omnibus “My People, My Country.” “The Captain,” also known as “The Chinese Pilot” earned $34.9 million according to consultancy Artisan Gateway, for a two-week cumulative of $343 million. The cumulative for “People,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content