Vitus 2007

Vitus

Critics Consensus

Though not highly original, Vitus is slightly redeemed by its charm and compelling performances.

66%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 61

80%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,892

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Movie Info

From a very early age, Vitus (Teo Gheorghiu) showed signs of genius -- like reading encyclopedias in kindergarten -- and by age 5 had already mastered the piano. With well-intentioned but overbearing parents (Julika Jenkins, Urs Jucker) pressuring him to continue his music career, Vitus dreams of a normal childhood. With the help of his grandfather (Bruno Ganz), Vitus feigns an injury and gains wealth quickly in the stock market so he can take up flying.

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Critic Reviews for Vitus

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (21)

Audience Reviews for Vitus

  • Sep 04, 2010
    Superb! Heartwarming, interesting, clever and fun! If there had been a six star rating, that's what I would have given Vitus. One of the most delightful movies I've ever seen, and oh, the music! This film runs the gamut of emotions, and ends with the best of them all.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2007
    Isabel, age 12: "<i>How long are you gonna stay in your room?</i> Vitus, age 6: <i>Until I'm an adult. If you want, you can come with me.</i> Isabel, age 12: <i>Until we're adults? Really? That's extreme.</i> Vitus, age 6: <i>Do you want to know how bats reproduce?</i> Isabel, age 12: <i>No, thanks. What do you want to be when you grow up?</i> Vitus, age 6: <i>I don't know yet.</i> Isabel, age 12: <i>You know so much, but not that?</i>" <a href="http://s172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/EarthlyAlien/?action=view¤t=VITUS-3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/EarthlyAlien/VITUS-3.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> The first time I saw <i>Forrest Gump</i> I was appalled. I watched it late (14, 15) and I was in such a cynical mood that I scoffed and laughed. The second time I saw it I was moved almost to tears by the film. By using fantastical events to manipulate emotion and to give us a filtered history lesson, Robert Zemeckis reached pure cinematic bliss with that film. Sometimes watching a film twice is a good idea. Upon reflection, I resolved to be less cynical - to try to "get" the point of the film. <i>Vitus</i>, Switzerland's official 2006 Academy Awards entry for Best Foreign Language Film, is a lot like <i>Forrest Gump</i>, but even cynics might find it hard to resist. And I want to see it again. Vitus is a boy genius, a prodigy, whose parents don't know how to cultivate his many talents. Early in the film, the boy, at age 6, plays the piano at a dinner party for his parents' business associates. Everyone is impressed and several key players are jealous, which is encouraged by proud mum and dad. But their confidence in little Vitus originates from a parent/child relationship and the child has already begun to advance beyond his and, perhaps, their years. <i>Vitus</i> is the kind of film that's been done many, many times before. Wonder kids, prodigies, super gifted children who only want to be "normal." The reason it works so well is 'cause its main goal is always to develop the central character. Two actors play the boy (over a period of 6 years) who progresses from an inquisitive prodigy into a young man with immense depth of understanding, not to mention top notch smarts. This kid can do anything, play concert piano, do complex mathematics, and even teach himself to fly a plane - a real plane. But in expanding his intellect, he loses his youthful innocence almost immediately. It's almost as though he tries to cram 20 years worth of life experience into less than 6 years. And everyone but his grandfather (played by the great Bruno Ganz) expects him to balance this accelerated socialization, because, after all, he's a genius. Vitus' parents are keenly interested in seeing to it that he gets the right book learning but fail to address his emotional needs. The effect on the boy is extremely moving. Think about how it would be to understand scientifically the act of sexual intercourse at six years old, but have no actual working knowledge of how it is managed. Or to be able to read about love, its basic definition and how it is described so beautifully in literature. And if you're twelve, a genius with access to the Internet, unlimited financial resources, and you got a crush on your older baby-sitter, how would you go about making her your girlfriend? With all the depth and penetration of a novel, one might expect that <i>Vitus</i> was adapted from one. It is, however, crafted from an original screenplay by Swiss writer-director Fredi M. Murer, whose own genius is made evident here in a brilliantly structured piece that dramatizes the conflict between loving parents' wishes and expectations for us and the impulse to choose for ourselves. Murer gets it right from top to bottom with this handsome production never letting the fantastical elements invade the real world emotional dilemmas present in the characters' lives. Having great intelligence proves to be quite a burden, and it must have been tough for Murer to capture the magic of the boy's genius without slipping completely into cliché. <i>Vitus</i>, on top of all that, is also a brilliant glorification of the power of music, and in that, may well have been inspired by or intentionally adapted to the particular gifts of its star. Actor Teo Gheorghiu (age 14 when this was made) actually plays Bach and Mendelshohn on the piano as witnessed here, making the fullest exposure of his command of the keyboard from all angles possible. Talk about precocious genius. Once all that's out of the way, we have an enormous actor named Bruno Ganz, who is often confused as being German, but who's very much Swiss. His performance here makes you want to hug him. Seemingly omnipresent in European and American Film, he's the kind of actor who can literally play any role (from an angel to Hitler). I don't think he's ever done a more sympathetically balanced role. He is the understanding and impishly eccentric engineer-dabbler and domestic spaghetti-maker in heart and mind. He convinces us that he may well have provided at least some of the smart genes that went into Vitus' DNA, and is a model of - if not adult behaviour - a certain creative spirit. Ganz always seems to enjoy his character roles, but never more than this, and we with him. <i>Vitus</i> considers the adult world, and the genius coming of age in it, with delicacy, compassion, and the subtle humour of the human comedy at large. Much that is universal can be read into this tale of a shy, weird kid trying to fit into a world that worships his attributes while still not knowing quite what to make of him as a person. As a parable of fairy-tale genius springing into a modern world of pervading normality, <i>Vitus</i> teaches, amuses and enriches. It's more than charming, it's more than smart, it's wise. It's the kind of film every parent on this Earth should take their children to watch.
    Pedro P Super Reviewer

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