If ever you felt misunderstood or alone, or not sure of where you fit into the scheme of things, the German film Vincent Wants To Sea will rejuvenate your belief in life and friendship. If life's a journey then Vincent Wants To Sea is a great way to map out an adventure that begins with a dubious meeting between strangers that leads to a life-changing and unique exploration of differences that separate and ties that bind.
In Vincent Wants To Sea, Vincent, a Tourette's sufferer, is institutionalised by his father after the recent death of his mother. It is here where he meets his obsessive-compulsive roommate and a girl who suffers from anorexia; they escape from their hospital and travel to Italy, to help honour the dying wishes of Vincent's mother - to have her ashes spread at sea.
United by destiny to change the world
These three outsiders are united by destiny to change the world of those who have no understanding of their anguish and an inability to communicate their afflictions.
It's a moving and emotional tale that is honest in its telling and poignantly shows how easy it is to overcome difficulties by simply doing the human thing.
Fortunately, director Ralf Huettner does not turn the film into a sentimental and soppy exploitation, but infuses the drama with touches of humour that allow the reality of the characters to surface in a gentle and sincere way.
The script was written by Florian David Fitz, who also delivers a memorable performance as the defiant-but-shy hero Vincent. He is well supported by Karoline Herfurth, as the rebellious and solemn Marie whose eating disorder serves as a constant reminder of their tribulations, and the amusing Johannes Allmayer, whose obsessive-compulsive nature turns their distress into a pleasurable journey.
Our worldview is defined by who we are
The film shows that the most difficult and challenging circumstances can be better understood if we allow ourselves to see the world through someone else's eyes; our worldview is defined by who we are and the circumstances that shape our lives, but can be changed by removing the blinkers and exploring endless possibilities outside our comfort zones, and crossing boundaries set up by social conventions and cultural differences, imposed by ignorance.
Vincent Wants To Sea is a gentle and heart-warming film that has its heart in the right place and will influence the judgments you cast irresponsibly without thought and understanding. It's unassuming and honest, and its sincerity is meaningful.
If you enjoy films about real people and shows how our relationships with strangers can impact on our lives, then Vincent Wants To Sea offers plenty food of thought. It allows us to see the world differently and sets us free from differences that imprison humanity.
Behind the scenes
Ralf Huettner's sleeper hit Vincent Wants To Sea was the surprise best picture winner at the 61st German Film Awards, Germany's version of the Oscars. Florian David Fitz, who's better known as a TV performer here, won Best Actor for his starring performance in Vincent as a Tourette's sufferer who, once in his life, wants to see the ocean. Fitz also wrote the script to Vincent. This charming German film also won three "Audience Favourite" awards at the Cleveland International Film Festival, Fresno Film Festival and Film Neu Film Festival. "When I was at drama school in Boston, we had a teacher with Tourette's," said Fitz of his inspiration to write the screenplay. "He didn't have any bad vocal tics, but rather the motor ones. He stood up in front of the class and said quite matter-of-factly: "Well, kids, I have Tourette's. If I do or say stupid things to you, it's not personal." At first you stare, of course, but actually you get used to it pretty quickly."
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