Two Mothers [Zwei Mütter] Movie Review
A sensitive approach to a timely issue makes this German drama worth a look, as its repercussions echo throughout Western society. It's the story of a lesbian couple facing a number of barriers as they try to conceive a child, and both the personal and political issues resonate strongly because the film is so beautifully written and directed. And the acting has an unusual honesty to it.
The couple at the centre, Isa and Katja (Plachetka and Wolf), are both in their late 30s. They don't want their child's father around, so are looking to use a fertility clinic, but German law doesn't allow gay couples to get treatment even though they're legally married. And these inconsistent laws combine with deep-seated bigotry to make things very difficult indeed. So as they go private, consult doctors and meet a promising donor (Weber), the strain on their finances and relationship is overpowering. Especially when it begins to become clear that Isa wants this baby much more than Katja does.
Based on real experiences, filmmaker Berrached shoots every scene with documentary-style realism. Most sequences feel like fly-on-the-wall improvisation, and the unfussy but artful photography continually catches telling details in peoples' faces, letting us see the true feelings behind their words. This also helps the actresses develop sometimes unnervingly truthful characters. Plachetka holds our sympathy by revealing Isa's openly emotional determination, while Wolf has the tougher role as the angry, insecure Katja.
Fortunately, even with these dark issues, the film has a lightness of tone that keeps us hopeful. Scenes bristle with earthy wit and hilarious interaction as these women wade into an emotional minefield. Although the way the film depicts society's underlying homophobia is unnerving, as is the toll all of this takes on Isa and Katja's relationship. And this is what makes the film so important, as it gently reveals how even the subtlest prejudice has a profoundly human cost.
Cast & Crew
Director : Anne Zohra Berrached
Producer : Cosima Maria Degler
Screenwriter : Anne Zohra Berrached
Starring : Karina Plachetka, Sabine Wolf, Florian Weber, Maarten Van Santen, Tilmann A. Muller, Joachim Welz, Rolf Iben, Karin Herrgen