Beloved Sisters

A love triangle forms between post-Enlightenment writer Friedrich Schiller and two sisters -- one who became his wife, and the other, his biographer.


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  • ★★★★ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd

    so this is how you make a soapy & sophisticated 3-hour german costume drama biopic. too tired to get into it now, but part Resnais, part Renaissance... eh, i mean, i could justify that, but really i just like the sound of it. whatever. you don't know me. [hiccup]. this move ist wunderbar.

  • ★★★★ review by Sam M. on Letterboxd

    It is no small feat to make a three-hour period melodrama this watchable. Bizzarely, nonsensically, "Beloved Sisters" is one of the most ridiculously entertaining films of the year; the narrative is intricate, soapy, sophisticated and enthralling, propelled by terrific acting and a stunningly beautiful and hauntingly perfectly composed camera with a refined yet distinctive style.This film is a surprisingly engaging but intensely novelistic film, where the drama comes from, miraculously, from the act of waiting, from the passage of time, from the resistance to montage over the slower pace of life created within the world of the film.

    Although this is a story in which the titular sisters are always in service of a man, or a custom, never fully allowed to be defined by others as seperate beings, "Beloved Sisters" explores that specific sadness, this ornamented, subdued assion. It is not an advocate for delegating people to such roles, but it is a story about how such roles affect a person's relationship, finding the emotional truth between melodrama, and how desperately accurate it is to experience the moment just before emotional catharsis as the closest you'll ever get to the real thing. As a piece of entertainment and as a substantial work of art, "Beloved Sisters" is exemplary and fine filmmaking.

  • ★★★★½ review by Fynn Benkert on Letterboxd

    Ich erwartete einen Historienschinken. Ich bekam einen sinnlichen Film über Leidenschaft, Kunst und Konventionen, träumerisch inszeniert und überzeugend gespielt.

    Einzig die sehr titanicesque Musik riss zuweilen raus.

    Ansonsten rief ich mehrmals ein "Große Kunst" dem Fernseher entgegen.

  • ★★★★ review by jb_86 on Letterboxd

    Like a decidedly German version of “Age of Innocence” and “Bright Star.”

    While this might not reach the heights of Jane Campion’s wonderful film there’s no need to fear the comparison with Scorsese’s not too shabby period romance. “Beloved Sisters” is, in this director’s cut, overlong and messy. But while the running time is a mild issue from time to time it’s messy in all the right ways. It’s a sprawling, adventurous, thematically dense film which mixes history, romance and melodrama in wonderful ways. Historically true albeit dramatically enhanced this film is less a biopic on German literary genius Friedrich Schiller and more a depiction of the relationship between sisters Charlotte and Caroline von Lengefeld. The set-up alone, with Caroline’s marriage, the family’s financial status, Schiller’s career and reputation, is already filled with themes and thoughts to get lost in. A sisterly pact, screamed against the thundering force of a waterfall, gives way for a first half brimming with surprisingly frank and intense emotions. Both sisters fall for the young poet but do not succumb to rivalry but try to forge a progressive ménage-á-trois (just sans incest) with Schiller.

    This could’ve very easily be a broad and finally useless, mediocre pap like “Young Goethe,” but TV-veteran Dominik Graf delivers a formally bold, visually lush, and rather spike-y epic of true love, sisterly bond, and so much more. Unfortunately there are two minor shortcomings that keep “Beloved Sisters” from being a true knockout. Once the wonderfully intimate sisterhood experiences a rupture and the story makes a larger jump in time we lack information. With 170 minutes to his service Graf could’ve used some of that time to make these moments resonate, because they influence everything happening in the second half. Secondly, the ending is a notch too vague. After a neat visual treat the central emotional struggle is more or less left hanging there after focusing a tiny bit too much on the wrong relationship of this trio. Apart from that “Beloved Sisters” is still a wonderful surprise for German cinema for not only is it visually gorgeous and often breathtaking, it tells a rich, layered and often highly emotional story.

    And make no mistake, the women of this story might very well be crazy in love but they do so as fully formed characters, often smart and inventive, living high emotional ideals while Schiller is often a bit passive, even when he’s consumed by passion. It’s the story of Charlotte and Caroline, of two beloved and loving sisters, one of which even rivals Schiller’s literary success.

  • ★★★½ review by C.J. on Letterboxd

    I expected this to be a serious, grim affair (that, combined with its 170 minute runtime, is why I avoided this for a while), so I was pleasantly surprised when this turned out to be pretty fun. I can only assume that Graf approached this with a full awareness of how silly and melodramatic the material can be, so all the whip pans, quick zooms, exaggerated dolly shots (highlight for me was the camera pushing in on Schiller touching Caroline's neck then immediately rushing back to its original position once someone entered the room), floating credits and every other "out of place" stylistic touch (considering the period setting at least) worked. My only real issue was the film getting a little too lost in its own details at times, to the point where it felt like it was stuffing in as much as possible. At a couple points it winds up distracting from the central drama between Caroline, Charlotte and Friedrich. But that's just me wishing I could like this more.

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