Paradise: Hope [Paradies: Hoffnung]

"Excellent"

Paradise: Hope [Paradies: Hoffnung] Review


After Love and Faith, Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl takes a gentler approach to explore hope, although the film is equally unsettling. This is an inventive look at the conflicting desires and aspirations of teens and adults, and as it dips into areas that are deeply inappropriate, it turns memorably provocative.

While her mother is in Kenya on holiday (see Love), Melli (Lenz) is staying with her religious aunt (see Faith), who sends her to a summer diet camp for overweight teens. The fitness programme is run by a disciplinarian coach (Thomas) and strict nutritionist (Bartsch) who put the kids through their paces. But it's the camp's middle-aged doctor (Lorenz) who catches Melli's attention. As he monitors her health, she starts to flirt with him. And he flirts back. She's encouraged to keep going by her new friend Verena (Lehbauer), who's much more experienced with men and helps Melli sneak out for a trip to a local bar to meet a few more.

Seidl's filmmaking approach is observational rather than plot-driven. And watching this awkward interaction is often very funny, although we feel a bit guilty about laughing at it. Especially as the film quietly and astutely explores the characters' deep yearning for connection with other people, including of course the potent curiosity every adolescent feels about sex. It's hardly surprising that these kids have secret drunken parties, play spin the bottle and raid the kitchen for midnight snacks.

But the adults are just as interesting to watch, as each has his or her own hopes and expectations. The doctor is such a bundle of conflicting urges that it's just as painful when he resists temptation as when he gives into it. All of the acting is so natural that we are forced to put ourselves into even the most squirm-inducing situations. And there are several points that really strike a nerve, such as how Verena describes the camp in very different ways to her divorced parents. Or how the kids reluctantly go along with all of the camp activities, including the supposedly motivational sing-song: "If you're happy and you know it, clap your fat!"



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Production compaines: Ulrich Seidl Film Produktion GmbH, Société Parisienne de Production, Tatfilm

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Melanie Lenz as Melanie, Joseph Lorenz as Arzt, Verena Lehbauer as Verena, as Sporttrainer, Viviane Bartsch as Ernährungsberaterin, Johanna Schmid as Hanni

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.