A Coffee in Berlin

Critics Consensus

Amiably slight, A Coffee in Berlin compensates for its lack of narrative drive with a sure-handed screenplay and echoes of early Woody Allen.



Reviews Counted: 52

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Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

Jan Ole Gerster's wry and vibrant feature debut A Coffee in Berlin, which swept the 2013 German Oscar Awards, paints a day in the life of Niko, a twenty-something college dropout going nowhere fast. Niko lives for the moment as he drifts through the streets of Berlin, curiously observing everyone around him and oblivious to his growing status as an outsider. Then on one fateful day, through a series of absurdly amusing encounters, everything changes: his girlfriend rebuffs him, his father cuts off his allowance, and a strange psychiatrist dubiously confirms his 'emotional imbalance'. Meanwhile, a former classmate insists she bears no hard feelings toward him for his grade-school taunts when she was "Roly Poly Julia," but it becomes increasingly apparent that she has unfinished business with him. Unable to ignore the consequences of his passivity any longer, Niko finally concludes that he has to engage with life. Shot in timeless black and white and enriched with a snappy jazz soundtrack, this slacker dramedy is a love letter to Berlin and the Generation Y experience. (c) Music Box Films

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Critic Reviews for A Coffee in Berlin

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (21)

  • In spite of its insufferably whimsical tendencies - exemplified by its original title, "Oh Boy" - the film may have turned out to be a deeply profound modern postscript about fascism.

    Dec 23, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Niko's problem is not just that he's spoiled and lazy, but that he's a wimp about it. He only maintains viewer sympathy because everyone else in the film is so obnoxious.

    Jul 10, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • It manages to make an entertaining story out of nothing in particular. And just when you get comfortable passively observing a passive observer, the minutest of twists becomes its own call to action.

    Jul 10, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • As sure of itself visually in its black-and-white evocations of Berlin as its protagonist is unsure of himself and his future.

    Jun 26, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • In Gerster's view, Berlin's unresolved past taints its bustling charm and glossy serenity, as well as every familiar course of practical action-yet his movie veers toward the historical kitsch that he satirizes.

    Jun 23, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Director Jan Ole Gerster lacks the confidence to set his main character genuinely adrift, instead caging him in scenes of cloying seriocomedy.

    Jun 20, 2014 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Coffee in Berlin

Visibly influenced by Woody Allen, not only in its black and white but also in the downbeat mood, the jazz score and mainly the deliciously wry humor, Gerster's impressive debut as a filmmaker tells a very thoughtful story about a young man who feels like he doesn't belong anymore.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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