Critic Consensus: While certainly not for the faint of heart, Wetlands transcends its shock value with sweetness, heart, and subversive wit.
Eighteen year-old Helen Memel (Carla Juri) likes to skateboard, masturbate with vegetables and thinks that body hygiene is greatly overrated. Struggling with her parents' divorce, she spends her time experimenting and breaking one social taboo after the other with her best friend, Corinna (Marlen Kruse). When a shaving accident lands her in the hospital, she sees it as a way to reconcile her parents, but ends up forming an unlikely bond with her male nurse, Robin (Christoph Letkowski) in the process. (C) Strand … More
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as Helen - 8 years
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Critic Reviews for Wetlands
"Wetlands" tells a fairly conventional story in about the most unconventional ways imaginable.
Even if Wetlands were far less entertaining, it would still be a calling card for Juri's star-is-born performance. The beguiled viewer watches her and thinks, "Bingo!"
An absurdly simplistic family drama; the movie's apparent audacity isn't even skin deep.
Wetlands is one of the most daring, visually arresting, innovative, and imaginative examples of filmmaking to come out of Europe in recent memory.
Audience Reviews for Wetlands
While the trailer gave a good glimpse into the amazing craziness of this completely off-the-wall teenage dramedy, about the life of Helen (Juri), it could not possibly show the unparalleled quality of this film. Absurdist, surrealist, full of black comedy, and completely and utterly disgusting, this is a film that features a main character that is beyond classification. Her motivations seem to make no sense, but when we look at her family life, her friends, and learn how she views the world it all makes perfect sense. Even when she is committing unique, dastardly and juvenile slights against those that she loves, it's easy to understand why. She is being rebellious, like any teenager, and her actions are often in revolt against her repressed mother, society, and gender norms. Some scenes are so gross, even hardcore film lovers will flinch and maybe even gag. There are a lot of scenes that feature malformed body parts, bodily functions, and bad hygiene. Throughout this punk character's misadventures we see that she is struggling with real world issues, including self-hatred, nightmares centering on a horrific childhood trauma, and the loss of those who love her. It's a film that revels in absurdity and yet hits you at your core, balancing between its comedy and art-house quality easily.
'Wetlands' signals the breakthrough for actor Carla Juri. She is incredible as 18-year-old Helen running around wreaking havoc, causing trouble, and finding new and inventive ways to go against the grain of society. In many ways, this is one of the most screwed up family dramas I've seen. Or is it a tale of tested friendship? Or is it a young girl's maturation and finding one's self? Or is it a love story?
Whatever it is, it's told in a very unconventional way. Sure it's a gross-out movie on the surface, and believe me there are a few cringe-worthy moments, but that all just seems more like an excuse to get people to watch what is otherwise still a good story underneath.
I swear at times Juri reminded me of a young Meg Ryan, though German. She went through tons of emotions in this film from seduction to sadness and euphoria to intrigue. Near the end when her character starts taking drastic measures for attention, or is it a depression she's fallen into suddenly because of her reoccurring dream, Juri brings it across the screen with aplomb.
The sexual content and lack of hygiene in a majority of the scenes may turn off many of the viewers, but Juri's strong performance should keep you tuned in the entirety of the way. The soundtrack is sweet and the visuals are engrossing. Maybe wash your hands afterward.
Not one to view with the kids. Or grandma. Or maybe even your spouse. Wetlands aims to freak you out hard and make dirty and filthy as much fun as the early romps from John Waters. Lars Von Trier has nothing on Wetlands. Where else will you find a film that sees a teen girl wiping a toilet seat with her crotch. Wetlands, adapted from the provocative best-seller from German tv personality Charlotte Roche, is far more than two hours of gross out set pieces. Sure, young filmmaker David Wnendt, who wrote the screenplay with Claus Falkenberg, shares the novel's preoccupation with vaginal fluids. But 18-year-old sexual insurgent and narrator Helen Memel, is no prude. Credit that to actress Carla Juri, who is blazingly brilliant as Helen. Whether she's attempting to turn guys on by dabbing her own 'pussy mucous' with her bff Corinna (Marlen Kruse) or using vegetables in ways that are not exactly nutritious, Juri is raw and riveting defined. It's Helen's homemade remedies to treat her hemorrhoids that has her end up in the hospital and gives her incentive to reconcile her divorced parents (Meret Becker and Axel Milberg). Sweet yea? It actually is, not to mention deliciously liberating and wickedly comic. Fuck Fifty Shades of Grey, no way does it outdo Wetlands. And this no-nonsense gem refuses to indulge in petty schmaltz. But don't mistake Wetlands for shameless porn. It has a deep, bracing human side that is unmistakable. In a just world, Juri would be competing for a Best Actress Oscar right now. She's that damn good. go ahead, dive in.
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