Agnes and His Brothers (2006)
The Tschirn brothers have their share of problems. Middle brother Hans-Jörg (Moritz Bleibtreu of Run Lola Run) is a librarian who neglects his duties in order to ogle every attractive woman that enters his workplace. His clumsy efforts to make conversation with them go nowhere. He takes his fetishistic peeping a step further, following women into the ladies room so he can sit in the next stall and pleasure himself while he spies on them. Older brother Werner (Herbert Knaup), a successful Green Party politico, would seem to be a bit more together, but his home life is in shambles. His wife, Signe (Katja Riemann of Rosenstrasse), no longer responds to his marital advances, and seems to have an unhealthily intimate relationship with their rebellious teenage son, Ralf (Tom Schilling), who spends much of his time trying to videotape his father's every embarrassment. Younger brother Martin has had a sex change and become Agnes (Martin Weiss). Agnes is a good-natured person, but profoundly unhappy, perhaps stemming from his unfulfilled relationship with an American fashion designer (played by Monster's Ball producer Lee Daniels in a cameo). But Hans-Jörg blames all of their problems on their father, Günther (Vadim Glowna), and can't even bring himself to visit the old man. Agnes and His Brothers, written and directed by Oskar Roehler, was selected by the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center for inclusion in the 2005 edition of New Directors/New Films. … More
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Critic Reviews for Agnes and His Brothers
It's a slick, ambitious movie that doesn't always nail all the many moods and themes it's after. But the actors give it force and depth.
The film's outrageousness would be more palatable if leavened with more wit, or if the characterizations possessed more nuances.
Writer-director Oskar Roehler spends all his energy on cataloging ''outrageous' behavior, and none on giving the transgressions any meaning.
In shuttling between drama and farce, more than a few balls get dropped.
There's fierce energy and -- thanks to the performances -- affecting emotion in the movie that almost makes you forget that Rainer Werner Fassbinder told a similar story much better 28 years ago with In a Year with 13 Moons.
About halfway through, however, the story takes on more than it can handle, turning contrived and unbelievable in the process.
some of the best acting to come out of Germany since before the Nazis took over.
[The film] isn't especially engaging, despite a quietly charismatic performance by Weiss, a relative newcomer who holds his own against far more experienced actors.
Where Roehler spends the most time, it seems, is with Werner, whose story evolves from satiric parody to compelling family drama -- there are few scenes more satisfying than when he takes a chainsaw to his son's marijuana crop.
Effectively mixes humor with melodrama to deliver an absorbing look at 3 brothers with enormous emotional problems.
Just as the characters are underthought, the storylines are incongruently pieced together.
Audience Reviews for Agnes and His Brothers
Weird German drama film about the Tschirner clan, what, consisting of neurotic transsexuals, sex-addicts and paedophiles, all hidden behind the facade of an average middle-class German family. I was shocked to see the different scenes were okay and awfully bad.
I liked the cuts and transitions which interweave the lives of the brothers. The blending of three very different lives and personalities complete a fascinating portrait of a family. In a way it might have been "3 brothers and their father".
I enjoyed Katja Riemann as the cold and frustrated wife, her scenes with Herbert Knaup are some of the best in the whole movie.
[font=Century Gothic]"Agnes and His Brothers" is a very, very thorough examination of sexual frustration. Werner(Herbert Knaup) is a politician who has probably not had sex with his wife, Signe(Katja Riemann), since the Berlin Wall came down. Adding to his problems is his elder son, Ralf(Tom Schilling), growing marijuana on the property. Werner's brother, Hans-Jorg(Moritz Bleibtreu), is a shallow creep who is transfixed by all the beautiful, tall, skinny, young and scantily clad women who frequent the library where he works.(Yes, it is okay to fantasize but voyeurism definitely crosses the line. And it's disturbing that both voyeuristic endeavors in the film concern bodily functions.) One of the movie's few bright spots is in not making Agnes(Martin Weiss), a post-op transsexual, any more pathetic than her brothers, Werner and Hans-Jorg, even though she is kicked out of her apartment early on by her boyfriend.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Agnes and His Brothers" is fairly awful for its first hour before gradually improving when it finally gets around to telling Agnes' story. But by that time, events have gotten out of hand and believability gets tossed out the window.[/font]
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