There are many road trip films. With “Töchter” comes a trip south to the cinema that focuses on missing fathers – and Alexandra Maria Lara, Birgit Minichmayr and a golf.
Hamburg – fathers shape their children for life. And children are probably looking for love and recognition from their fathers for just as long. That doesn’t change when they’re grown up either.
This search is the basic theme of Nana Neul’s film “Daughters”. The focus of the film adaptation of the novel of the same name by the Hamburg writer Lucy Fricke are two almost 40-year-old friends who have to go on a trip to Switzerland. Bettina and Martha are supposed to bring Martha’s father there to die at his request. Only: He doesn’t have an appointment there and actually wants to visit his childhood sweetheart. The trip becomes an emotional adventure for everyone.
The two main actresses Alexandra Maria Lara and Birgit Minichmayr impress with their fine play and an almost desperate sadness. Melancholy is also the basic tone of the film. You have to want that. Ease and happiness are seldom seen in the lives of the two women and tend to be fleeting.
One (Lara) is pretty buttoned up and fun-free, a little narrow-minded, almost always tense and very impatient with her father (Josef Bierbichler). Accordingly, Martha reacts blankly to her father’s request to drive him to Switzerland to die. “Why didn’t he stay the lousy father. Getting nice just before dying, that’s just a mean, ”she says, desperately angry.
And because she hasn’t driven a car for a long time due to an accident, her friend Betty (Minichmayr) has to go with her. She is the complete opposite of Martha. Creative, relaxed, drifting, smiling, watching, always on the run and on antidepressants.
Both have a lot of emotional baggage with them. While Martha is overwhelmed by the sudden closeness to her father, Betty searches for her roots and for her allegedly deceased father. Despite the differences, the friendship between the two women allows for a lot of calm, understanding and directness. It’s a wonderfully understandable closeness.
In the wine-red old golf of their father, the trio leads discussions about the value of friends, suffering, happiness, living alone and smoking. There is arguing, scolding, laughing and crying.
Search for answers
“Daughters” is a road trip for two adult women in the early middle of their lives. The search for answers. Filling in emotional gaps. Life as a search for recognition and love. And the way there is paved with sadness, longing, dissatisfaction, fear – and here and there also with small moments of happiness.
Neither of them are bitter or disillusioned. “You stop using drugs at an age when you really need them most,” Martha says at one point. Even small dialogues like this make the film worth seeing, despite its length.
Just like the film locations. The journey of the two women takes you to Switzerland, through sunny Italy with its wonderful alleys and lively life and to Greece with its blue sea and peaceful idyll. The views into the distance are like small visual islands to relax in. The music for the tragic comedy, which comes mainly from the Berlin singer Masha Qrella, is wonderfully appropriate and as emotional as it is melodious.
Daughters, Germany 2021, 121 min., FSK from 12, by Nana Neul, with Alexandra Maria Lara, Birgit Minichmayr, Josef Bierbichler, Giorgio Colangeli dpa