Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Die Mitte der Welt
Germany/Austria, 2016. Neue Schonhauser Filmproduktion, Prisma Film, Universum Film, mojo:pictures, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Bayerischer Rundfunk, ARTE, Osterreichischer Rundfunk. Screenplay by Jakob M. Erwa, based on the novel by Andreas Steinhofel. Cinematography by The Chau Ngo. Produced by Boris Schonfelder. Music by Paul Gallister. Production Design by Veronika Merlin. Costume Design by Peri de Braganca. Film Editing by Carlotta Kittel.
Phil has been raised in the German countryside since his mother (whom he calls “Glass”) gave birth to him and his twin sister after running away from their father in America. Having grown up with a mom who cycles through boyfriends in increasingly dramatic disasters and a sister who is possibly disturbed, Phil’s being gay is actually the most normal aspect of his family, but that still doesn’t cushion the blow of what is to turn out to be his first major love. After handsome Nicholas shows up at school, Phil is thoroughly engrossed in him and can’t believe his luck when it turns out that Nicholas is into him too, inspiring a sexy and clandestine sexual romance that distances him from his best friend and completely envelops our amiable hero until the inevitable, maturity-inducing conclusion of their relationship; said trauma is not made easier by the added pain of family truths long ignored that come with it. If the story sounds familiar, that’s because the film barely has a drop of originality to it, but it’s told with such passionate sincerity and the acting is so good that you won’t mind a bit. Director Jakob M. Erwa presents the angst of adolescent development from his young hero’s point of view and not from that of an exploitative or jaded adult, and rather than belittling his protagonist’s genuinely sympathetic experience allows the audience to feel it first hand and, possibly, relive their own (though I personally don’t recall being lucky enough to have Phil’s perfect hair).