Sunday, 18 September 2016

SMS für Dich (4 Stars)

This is a German romantic comedy directed by Karoline Herfurth, who also plays the main role. The title is best translated as "Text for you", because "SMS" ("Short Message Service") is the usual German acronym for a text message sent by a mobile phone.

Germany isn't known for making romantic comedies, they're more of an American phenomenon, but this is an excellent attempt to make an original film in a very rigidly defined genre. For most of the film I thought it was running in a completely different direction, but towards the end it slipped into the standard rules. You know what the rules are, don't you? You don't? Let me tell you what they are one last time:

1. Girl meets boy.
2. The girl doesn't like the boy, but as time goes on she grows to like him.
3. Girl and boy go different ways. (Sometimes geographically, sometimes she returns to an ex-lover).
4. Girl realises she can't live without the boy and returns to him.

If that isn't what happens it's not a genuine romcom, so it's not a spoiler for me to tell you that this is the film's end result.

Now to the plot. Clara Sommerfeld is a young woman who writes and illustrates children's books. She's engaged to be married, but her fiancé Ben is run over by a drunken driver in front of her eyes. Two years later she still hasn't got over her loss. She still writes text messages to him, partly as therapy for herself, partly in the hope that he somehow can read the messages on the other side. What she doesn't know is that Ben's mobile phone number has recently been reassigned. Mark, the sports reporter for a Berlin newspaper, is fascinated by the romantic messages that he receives from a stranger. He already has a girlfriend, but she's not a romantic person, which makes Clara's text messages all the more appealing to him. He becomes determined to meet the mystery woman.

Karoline herself visited the cinema, Metropol in Stuttgart, to present the film. I was thrilled to meet her. She's a beautiful person, inside and out, a talented actress, and now she's showing that she has other skills by directing her first film.

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