Great Freedom (2021)

Great Freedom (2021)

Love perseveres in this subtle but compelling drama

7.5

Movie

Austria, Germany
English, German, Spanish
Crime, Drama, Romance, War
2021
SEBASTIAN MEISE
Andreas Patton, Anton von Lucke, Fabian Stumm
116 min

What it's about

In post-war Germany, liberation by the Allies does not mean freedom for everyone. Hans Hoffmann is repeatedly imprisoned under Paragraph 175, which criminalizes homosexuality. Nevertheless, over the decades, he continues his quest for freedom and love, even if he finds it in the most unusual places.

The take

Great Freedom is not an easy watch. Apart from the quiet stretches of time and the claustrophobic confines of its prison setting, it also has its lead, Hans Hoffman (played with delicate force by Franz Rogowski) imprisoned again and again and again, unjustly treated like dirt by both his warden and fellow inmates.

But as a Jewish gay man who has lived through the war, Hans is no stranger to these trappings. As such, he takes each day as it comes, open to love, pleasure, and friendship, or at least the potential of these, despite the circumstances. And so Great Freedom is also hopeful and romantic, glimmering with the human tendency to not just survive but to live. Slow but compelling, subdued but powerful, Great Freedom is an affecting balancing act that's well worth watching. 

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