Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: Christian Zübert
Starring: Elmar Wepper, Mercan-Fatima Türköglu
Look how cute that poster is! I bet you can all already guess what this film is going to be about (kind of, at least), but here’s a trailer for you all anyhow. Again, it’s in German with English subs, as that was the only one I could find.
😀 It’s such a cute family-looking film. Here’s the summary from IMDB: 6-year old Hayat turns up in Hartmut’s taxi without a word of German. All attempts to get rid of her fail. So he resigns himself to helping her find her mother. But is he helping her or she helping him? Slowly Hayat changes his outlook on life. Language barriers! Grumpy old men! Wacky misunderstandings!
It is also a German film however, so there are some super sad parts. But don’t let that take away from the rest of it.
Anyway, here’s my thoughts on the film (as usual, beware potential spoilers – if you just want a rating/brief summary, scroll wayyy down to the bottom):
Things I liked:
- this film is all about character – there are some large events, but they’re not meant to largely affect anyone outside of Hartmut, Hayat and their families. With that in mind, the characters in this are very interesting. Hartmut is, naturally, the one who changes the most through the film and it’s nice to see the softening in his character, especially when some of the assumptions made about him at the beginning might have been unfair.
- the girl who plays Hayat, Mercan-Fatima Türköglu, is a lovely actress. I think her character is well written too – it would have been easy to have her cry all the time and really, have her react in the way probably most children would react in the situations she finds herself, but instead she is confident (though not always) and is trying to solve her problems, even though she is six years old. She’s a little precocious without being annoying.
- the way the language gap is dealt with is really interesting too. This is another film where there is a lot of Turkish used throughout – if you watch it in German, there are German subtitles for those parts (though there aren’t any in the trailer I’ve posted here) – and Hayat can only speak Turkish, where Hartmut can only speak German. It’s fun to watch them struggle and, ultimately, somewhat overcome this barrier between them.
- it’s not a long film, only a little over an hour and a half, but it does manage to pack a lot into that time. I had moments where I wasn’t fully concentrating (I’ll explain why in the next section) but these moments weren’t due to the pacing or the characters. When it boils down to it, there’s a very simple storyline, but there’s enough side-plots added in to make sure you always have something to think about. (And, this seems like a family film, so there’s enough for parents and kids to enjoy.)
Things I didn’t like:
- not so much something I didn’t like, but something I found difficult was the accent. As far as I’m aware, the film is set in Nürnberg (Nuremberg), which is in Bayern (Bavaria) and Hartmut does seem to have a bit of an accent going on. He was, sometimes, very difficult to follow and as I couldn’t find a version that was fully subtitled, it meant at times that I lost my train of thought. I ended up watching parts of the film twice – but I still very much enjoyed it. It doesn’t make the film any less charming (if anything, it makes it even more so) and if you get a version with subtitles, then you probably wouldn’t even notice it.
I did have a favourite scene for this film; it has to be the moment when Hartmut decides to get a kind of revenge on the man who is now seeing his wife and decides to just bump his car. He puts a note on the car and reverses into it – only for the car to go rolling back down a hill and crash into a tree. What I love about this scene is that he and Hayat get out of the taxi, stare at it for a few seconds, then simultaneously get back into the taxi so that they can leave. It’s supposed to be one of their bonding moments and it works really well – plus, it’s hilarious.
This film, I’ll give 7.5/10. It’s fun, it’s heartfelt – the sad moments are poignant and remind us that, no, life doesn’t always work out the way we want or expect it to, but the rest of the film explains that people can change themselves and, most of all, that there are good people in the world. Not everyone is as they appear, and I like that as a message.