Undine Parent Guide
With deliberate ambiguity baked into the storyline, this film gives viewers lots to think about.
Parent Movie Review
Berlin, as a city, has been many things. Trading post, capital, arts center, and a city torn in two – and all these different facets are what make Undine Wibeau’s (Paula Beer) job as an urban historian and lecturer so interesting. But her relationship is not as successful, and Johannes (Jacob Matschenz) is leaving her, in spite of her warnings to the contrary. Luckily for her, she meets Christoph (Franz Rogowski) at one of her lectures, and the two soon find themselves nearly inseparable…for now.
I’d tell you more, but the fun of this film is seeing things develop. As you may have gathered, this isn’t going to be a ripping action thriller with stuntmen, explosions, and product placement for beer. For one thing, small European films don’t have the budget for that Michael-Bay-esque orgy of computer generated characters and product placement. More importantly, they have actual stories to tell which require patience, thought, and careful consideration – not things that gravitate towards fast action.
I also can’t tell you more because the plot is somewhat nebulous. I’d be more inclined to be critical about this except that the ambiguity feels very deliberate. The filmmakers are quite happy to let you draw your own conclusions about Undine, and aren’t shy about leaving loose ends flapping in the breeze. If you’re comfortable with that kind of uncertainty, then this is the movie for you.
A lot of the European films I’ve reviewed seem to have a pretty broad tolerance for casual graphic nudity, which depending on the cast, can range from slightly awkward to deeply unpleasant. However, apart from some brief out-of-focus toplessness during an otherwise under-the-covers sex scene, there isn’t any here. There’s hardly any negative content at all, in fact, and apart from that little foray into nudity, I can’t see any reason this currently unrated film would get anything more severe than a PG-13.
That, of course, is not to say that this movie would be a wild success with your teenager – assuming your teenager isn’t a weirdo like me who enjoys slow foreign films. But if you’ve got the patience and the interest, Undine gives you a tidy 90 minutes to sink your brain into, and somewhere in the depths of the movie, you might just find something new. Or at least, a new way to look at something you thought you knew. Either way, I had a good time.Directed by Christian Petzold. Starring Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski, and Jacob Matschenz. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release June 4, 2021. Updated June 4, 2021
Watch the trailer for Undine
Rating & Content Info
Why is Undine rated Not Rated? Undine is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: An individual is shown in the hospital after an accident. One character is drowned.
Sexual Content: There is a sex scene which involves brief out-of-focus female toplessness.
Profanity: There are two scatological profanities and occasional uses of terms of deity and mild profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially and one is seen smoking a cigarette.
Page last updated June 4, 2021
Undine Parents' Guide
Berlin is a world city with a fascinating history, including a center of the arts and being the center of Nazi Germany. Articles about the history of Berlin include:
Civitatis: History of Berlin
Wikipedia: History of Berlin
For a deep dive into the history of Berlin you can watch: Berlin: Constantly Changing City.
Related home video titles:
Other ill-fated romances include La La Land, Casablanca, and Romeo + Juliet. More surreal options include The Shape of Water and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you just like films which are open to interpretation, you may also like the somewhat more disturbing I’m Thinking of Ending Things.