Starring: Aenne Schwarz, Andreas Döhler, Hans Löw
Director: Eva Trobisch
Running Time: 93 mins
All Good is a German film about a woman who finds herself struggling after an acquaintance of hers slept with her against her will. However, as she attempts to put the incident behind her, she finds her silence has consequences of its own.
With a very down-to-earth and ever-topical story, you may think that you’ve seen something similar to All Good before. However, while it touches on a topic portrayed in numerous films beforehand, it comes at it from a more interesting and rather refreshing angle, as such providing a little more emotional power and grit throughout. In that, it’s an engrossing film, however it often fails to really keep its main theme at the centre of proceedings, occasionally taking away from that emotional core and making for a somewhat less enthralling watch.
Before I get into that, however, let’s talk about what really works about All Good, specifically the central performance from Aenne Schwarz. As I said, you may think you understand the story of a woman suffering in silence after an assualt, but what this film does, and what Schwarz in particular does, is show that the emotional effects and way of dealing with that trauma are not all that simple.
Initially wonderfully smiley and likable, I was immediately taken by Schwarz’s character here, and yet as the film goes on, her performance gradually begins to show the increasingly weary and even desperate extent that this woman has fallen to, slowly but effectively transitioning from someone who attempts to brush off something they at first see as harmless, and yet still suffer deeply from the lasting impact of such an event.
The scene in which we see the assault happen is very well-handled – it’s not a sensationalist or overly dramatic set-piece, but one that reflects a more real-world circumstance in seeming a little less menacing and harrowing than many films portray, and that’s why you’re able to relate to our leading lady’s desire to see it as a nothing more than a nuisance, rather than becoming immediately grief-stricken.
In that, the film takes a while for the real gravity of the situation to hit home, but in doing so, it expertly portrays a more realistic side to trauma and guilt, and allows the real intensity of what actually happened to play out over a longer and more agonising time period.
It’s an interesting and different perspective to what many films portray, and the film’s very honest and down-to-earth nature is something that makes it a likable and undoubtedly engrossing watch, refusing to give into theatrics and show something that can more accurately reflect the confusion and eventual suffering that a person may go through after a sexual assault.
Now, while that aspect of the film helps to keep it a generally intriguing watch, I still can’t quite say that it managed to keep me completely enthralled from beginning to end, something that’s largely due to that rather subdued opening act.
As I said earlier, it’s great to see that director Eva Trobisch doesn’t sensationalise or overplay the nature of sexual assault, and the following twenty minutes or so see our main character effectively forget all about what happened as she aims to move on with her life.
It’s an interesting part of the plot, but for those twenty minutes, before the gravity of the situation really starts to hit home, there really isn’t all that much to focus on, as you’re left wondering what the fallout of that earlier event was.
Given hindsight, it’s something that’s a little difficult to criticise heavily, but it proves that without the film’s well-detailed and strong central theme, the screenplay falters a little, and it really struggles to keep your attention well.
And finally, the film’s ending is a poignant, albeit rather frustrating and abrupt one. Once again, it’s a balance between orthodox cinema and the central theme here, and the trade-off doesn’t quite work at the very end, as you’re left hanging with an abrupt conclusion that doesn’t quite satisfy the overall arc of the story. It’s an undoubtedly unique way to finish things off, but it’s not something that really hit me as hard as I felt was the intention, leaving me a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to learn about what this woman is really going through.
Overall, I was generally impressed by All Good, what with its unique and grounded central theme, down-to-earth style, and excellent central performance, although it’s not a film that managed to grab me entirely, occasionally trading off some of its emotional power for the sake of that central thematic narrative in rather unsatisfying fashion, which is why I’m giving it a 7.3.