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Review: Young Goethe in Love

Philipp Stölzl's portrait of the artist as a young scamp
By PETER KEOUGH  |  January 19, 2012
2.0 2.0 Stars



That Goethe, what a nut. In Philipp Stölzl's fanciful portrait of the artist as a young scamp, the future genius (Alexander Fehling) introduces himself as "Goethe with an 'oe'," earning a reputation as a pratfalling screw-up. As clumsy as he is incorrigible, he blows off his exams and infuriates his father with his "scribblings" and his enthusiasm for the movement his raffish friends call "Stürm and Drunk!" Fed up, Papa sends him to the sticks to serve as an apprentice to Judge Kestner (Moritz Bleibtreu), a martinet who puts him to work filing and copying. Enter lovely Lotte (Miriam Stein), daughter of a struggling burgher, who catches Goethe's eye as well as that of his boss, setting up the scenario later to be known as The Sorrows of Young Werther, minus the tragic ending. Lovely to look at, the film's vistas range from the rococo to the romantic. It gives short shrift to the poet, though, reducing his greatness to schtick, sentiment, and clichés.

  Topics: Reviews , Boston, Europe, History,  More more >
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