Agnes and His Brothers (2006)



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Movie Info

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.
Art House & International , Drama
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Herbert Knaup
as Werner
Lee Daniels
as Henry Preminger
Martin Semmelrogge
as Manni Moneto
Marie Zielcke
as Nadine
Moritz Bleibtreu
as Hans-Jörg
Martin Weiss
as Martin/Agnes
Vadim Glowna
as Günther
Sven Martinek
as Jürgen
Suzan Anbeh
as Desiree
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Critic Reviews for Agnes and His Brothers

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (10)

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.

August 17, 2006
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

The film's outrageousness would be more palatable if leavened with more wit, or if the characterizations possessed more nuances.

July 18, 2006
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Writer-director Oskar Roehler spends all his energy on cataloging ''outrageous' behavior, and none on giving the transgressions any meaning.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

In shuttling between drama and farce, more than a few balls get dropped.

Full Review… | June 9, 2006
Top Critic

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.

June 9, 2006
Top Critic

About halfway through, however, the story takes on more than it can handle, turning contrived and unbelievable in the process.

June 9, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic

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.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer


Recent German cinema remains plot-driven as well as teleological in terms of that plot's climactic resolution - in comparison with its French counterpart where meandering 'meditations on X & Y' with open-ended endings are more common. This film about three dysfunctional brothers, including the gender-bending Agnes of the title, explores each sibling's situation in turn (the shifts between each parallel story might begin to seem forced). Much perversion, family drama, pornstar coitus, and a murder or two occur. All in a day's work in Cologne. Fairly amusing.

Arin D
Arin D

[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][/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]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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