Maren Ade’s romantic drama (aka Alle Anderen) stars Lars Eidinger and Birgit Minichmayr as a married couple in a subtly heartbreaking spiral downward. This 2009 German film was re-released at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center in anticipation of Ade’s new film Toni Erdmann, a 2017 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. (BKP: 4/5)
Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky
As a perfect metaphor for Everyone Else, “Gitti’s” (Minichmayr) niece playfully uses her finger as a gun and shoots Gitti into the pool, disliking her for no apparent reason. That’s the idea Ade tackles as serious “Chris” (Eidinger) and lighthearted Gitti visit family in a Sardinia villa. Like any couple stuck in a marital rut, they are unable to pinpoint what exactly is making them unhappy. It doesn’t help matters when their new neighbor friends, “Hans” (Hans-Jochen Wagner) and “Sana” (Nicole Marischka) can’t keep their hands off of each other.
Unlike many tension-filled love stories with rising action, Ade lets this drama simmer in the quiet, slice-of-life moments, scene by scene. When Gitti tells Chris she loves him with only a kiss in return, when she tries to have a conversation and it doesn’t go as planned … all of these little things enhance the anger and resentment, but then, sometimes, something good happens. They are simply existing in their own uncomfortable, sometimes happy and sometimes sad, push and pull of married life.
Everyone Else makes their characters compelling enough on the page, however, Bernhard Keller’s stunning cinematography takes you from the seat of the movie theater to a pool by a far-way villa, entrenched in this love story of fictional characters.
Ade lets viewers decide for themselves what works and what doesn’t in this relationship, from their mismatched personalities to the way they treat each other, verbally and physically. To make it obvious, Ade has lovebird neighbors Hans and Sana representing marital bliss and flirtation, while the main protagonists feel far, far apart. Surprisingly, the story isn’t wrapped up with a bow, proving once again that film – and life – don’t always have clear-cut endings.
Doom-and-gloom does not saturate the erotic film, either. Ade shows the happy times, complete with Chris’ dance to Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias’ “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” a highlight of the film. But the happy times make their troubles that much more painful. Like almost every individual on this earth, these two people are trying to better both themselves and their circumstances, but it never has been and never will be an easy road to take. Feeling isolated? So does everyone else.
© Brigid K. Presecky (2/25/17) FF2 Media
Top Photo: Lars Eidinger as “Chris”
Bottom Photo: Lars Eidinger as “Chris” and Birgit Minichmayr as “Gitti”
Q: Does Everyone Else pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?
“Gitti” (Birgit Minichmayr) has scenes with her family (particularly her niece) outside of her relationship with her husband. Furthermore, she has a friendship in the form of “Sana” (Nicole Marischka) although most of their discussions revolve around the men in their lives.