Sweethearts by Karoline Herfuth: Gangster comedy and hostage drama

“Sweethearts” by Karoline Herfurth
:At times a good and entertaining comedy

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    Sarah Pepin

The young businesswoman Franny in Karoline Herfurth’s second feature film “Sweethearts” has panic attacks. This can not use her boss at all and prescribed her without further ado forced leave. These panic attacks will from now on be Frannys (Herfurth) smallest problem.

“Sweethearts” is reminiscent of “Sex and the City”

Because a few minutes later, fate in this gangster movie, Mel (Hannah Herzsprung) takes her hostage in a jewelery raid in the middle of the city. Mel also quarrels as a single mother without a graduation with her life, the diamond robbery should help her financially on the jumps. Of course, things are not going according to plan, and Mel suddenly has a woman with Franny on her cheek who is crying all the time and has to play “Banana Kong” on her phone in order to calm down.

Basically, this film, which at times is also a good comedy, is about friendship – between two different women who hate each other and love each other through the hostage-taking. A scene in which Franny drives home from a bachelorette party docks on: Dressed in a tutu, she crosses the street, being hit by a cyclist and splashed with water.

The hostages are fine (Frederick Lau and Karoline Herfurth).

The hostages are fine (Frederick Lau and Karoline Herfurth).


dpa / Reiner Bajo

Herfurth’s allusion to the opening credits of the US series “Sex and the City” suggests at the outset that this is also about the intense and often difficult relationship between women. Franny and Mel’s relationship develops into genuine affection via the Stockholm Syndrome.

Herfurth follows Hollywood trend with criminal women

But what would such a story be without tension, after all, it’s about life and death. The drama is provided by police commissioner Ingrid van Kaiten (Anneke Kim Sarnau), who wants to free Franny and uncover the case, but always comes a step too late. Harry (Frederick Lau), he is also a police officer, would have preferred the case withdrawn, is still pulled in and even hostage. He likes that better than one might expect.

Women who, intentionally or unintentionally, become criminals are a trend that continues with “sweethearts” in German cinema. “Widows” by Steve Mcqueen and “Ocean’s 8” by Gary Ross had recently put criminals in the limelight in Hollywood. This offers the possibility of unusual scenic tensions.

Berlin film with American flair

In “Sweethearts” Mel sings her daughter, who is staying with a friend, on the phone a goodnight song. Shortly thereafter, she holds a gun to her enemies head. By the way, Herfurth’s film also tries to convey a quiet commentary on motherhood between callousness and emotionality.

There is nothing fundamentally new about what Herfurth presents, but still entertaining. The scenes in “sweethearts” are cheap motels, strip clubs and car repair shops, the aesthetics are based on American bank robbery films. This is consistent in itself, but difficult to connect with Berlin as a city. More forgiving are continuity mistakes: that a Berlin film wants to sell the viewer in a scene, the Komische Oper is opposite the Filmhaus on Potsdamer Platz.

SweetheartsGermany 2019. Director: Karoline Herfurth. With Karoline Herfurth, Hannah Herzsprung, Frederick Lau, Anneke Kim Sarnau and others

The filmwill be released Thursday, the 14th of February in theaters