Angst Essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Angst Essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) Reviews

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November 19, 2017
A moving & ground breaking German Film directed by German Wild Child Rainer Weiner Fassbinder who worked hard & partied harder.

The story of a middle aged German Woman who falls in love with a Moroccan Migrant Worker despite intense social disapproval & gossip.

Beautifully made & heart achingly true, filled with performances & such an sincerity. A must see of Fassbinder's films.
September 30, 2017
more relevant today (2017) than ever. masterful.
½ August 1, 2017
Strange performances can't take away from such a genuine romance, that both examines age, race and loneliness delicately and with conviction; it feels real and extremely thoughtful.
July 31, 2017
There is no doubt that the movie is odd and has a unique style which makes it such an interesting movie. Fassbinder can create the isolation and desperation in every scene with intensely crafted shots or detailed performances by the two actors. What shows true genius are the long pauses of silence after an emotional and intense scene creating that isolation they have, want, and hate. Not only is the Fassbinder technique beautiful the subject matter is extremely important and often looked over in cinema. It's heart breaking to watch this love being held up by society's presence and the conflict it creates in their relationship. The best part is how the script makes it them against the world, but then explores the two fascinating characters and how this relationship has everything against it even the people who vitally need it.
July 18, 2017
Written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder pushing the envelope variation of "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" and a Douglas Sirk movie "All That Heaven Allows" centers on the unacceptable relationship between a widowed middle age cleaning women, Emmi(Brigitte Mira) controversial and unconventional relationship with an extremely young Arab refugee, Ali (El Hedi ben Salem) who is 20 years younger.
½ June 10, 2017
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul features such a great direction from Fassbinder and such a fantastic performance from Brigitte Mira who here gave one of the finest female performances ever in a film and created one of the most wonderful protagonists in the process. The film is sweet and touching but also very realistic in its third act and it explores hatred and prejudice really well and is timeless in its subject matter. It is one of the best films from the seventies and one of the biggest classics to come from Germany.
½ April 1, 2017
A visual style that consists of powerful, artistic frames and a social commentary that is always topical.
March 11, 2017
Excellent acting and character played by Mira. An enjoyable film.
March 5, 2017
Yorgos Lanthimos rec
November 29, 2016
I was very surprised and impressed by this film. It's a remake of sorts of Douglas Sirk's "All The Heaven Allows" and a precursor to Todd Haynes' "Far From Heaven". At first, I wasn't that impressed with the look for the film, and I found the performances somewhat stilted, but as the story continued i was drawn in more and more and started to take more notice of the technical achievements. The framing is excellent and there was a few camera movements that really impressed me, particularly a shot at an outside cafe. By the end, I was completely floored by this film. I very highly recommend it, and would suggest watching "All That Heaven Allows" first, though it isn't necessary. This is a must watch for serious film buffs!
½ November 9, 2016
It would be better without the moralising, but still very good.
½ October 18, 2016
Fassbinder's most important film for a number of reasons. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul was instantly controversial upon its release in Germany due to its commentary on racism, and the film is as passionate as it is enraged. The bi-racial couple played by Brigitte Mira and El Hedi ben Salem (the latter being Fassbinder's lover at the time), expose a complex relationship that's problems reflect social issues of the day and age. Its views can certainly be upsetting, but the film never comes off as anything less than sincere, and at a snug hour-and-a-half running time the film is fully digestible while communicating what it needs. A high water-mark for international melodrama.
September 20, 2016
Feat Eats the Soul is a penetrating picture of an unlikely relationship - the form seems ripe for some Hollywood melodrama, but Mr. Fassbinder, leading the German New Wave, directs with social truths, endearing simplicity, and great restraint.
July 10, 2016
A romance kindles between an aging, widowed cleaning woman and a Moroccan immigrant 25 years her junior in Fassbinder's homage to Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows". They meet by accident when she ducks into a bar he frequents to avoid the rain. His friends jokingly dare him to dance with her, but they hit it off, each touched by how the other really pays attention to them. They marry and are very happy, but their friends, family and society in general are cruel and ostracize them. This is a beautiful film ... at times tender and touching, and at other times infuriating. Like Sirk, Fassbinder accentuates the artificiality of the melodrama, but in a significantly different fashion. There's a stilted awkardness to many scenes designed to highlight the isolation and estrangement of the characters.
June 26, 2016
Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is a story of two people who are not exactly alone in the world but not apart of it, and it's this that is Fassbinder's focus first before making a "message" movie about racism.
This is why a film like this will forever trump some sanctimonious self-righteous pablum like Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Fassbinder wanted the audience to take away something about German society and its attitude about other races and ethnicities, but he's really after something so much more important, which is, dare I get pretentious here, the human condition. He takes cues from Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Alows, but only loosely, like a musician who knows the notes yet wants to try another rhythm and arrangement. This isn't a glossy movie that relies on subtext, on the contrary everything is out in the open in Fear Eats the Soul, and it's an urban setting with characters in disarray. It may be the most tender of Fassbinder's melodramas.
And things end up happening here that I definitely did not expect. Love comes upon Emmi and Ali rather quickly, as if they weren't expecting it, and it's accentuated in a wonderfully touching moment at night when Emmi is in her nightgown in her room, Ali coming in as an invited guest in order to get out of the rain and stay the night, and she tells him how it is to have someone, to not be lonely. It's such a sad scene that's punctuated by a sense of bliss that seems just within reach. And, again, this is not a story that unfolds with much ease; nobody accepts that Emmi and Ali, after knowing each other for only so long (and, indeed, based on a moment when Emmi has to come up with a quip to keep the landlord away), are married, not least of which her immediate family (this scene is classic Fassbinder, a sense of rage simmering under calm that just erupts without any theatrics with the camera), co-workers, a grocery story clerk, and, for a moment or two, not even Ali himself.
It's such a sad little story that a couple of times I wondered "no, this can't be, Fassbinder can't really be going here", and the style, despite being reliant on the director's proclivity for doing scenes in one take per shot and on a two-week schedule, may inform that some of the acting is not the most professional caliber. No matter. All the raw emotion comes through, with those stares that people have, with so much resentment and ignorance amplified without even saying a word. One such scene that resonates is when Ali and Emmi sit at an outdoor café and about five or six people look on from across the road, just staring, not talking, and it finally brings Emmi to tears. This is not the same kind of "will they or wont they accept us" tale of All That Heaven Allows. This is something much deeper-rooted, not helped by the fact that it's in 1974, two years after the Olympics tragedy in Munich, or the fact of so many were once members of the Nazi party- even kind-hearted Emmi herself.
And, as it should, the film ends with a bittersweet quality that can only come with so assured a filmmaker. We can't be sure of anything with Ali and Emmi, how long people may come around to actually be alright with their marriage let alone see them (i.e. Fassbinder's own lazy louse character married to Emmi's daughter), or if the hypocrites who wouldn't talk to Emmi soon after feel up her husband's muscles, or if they can even stay in their little home or quarter without something else coming their way or if something may tear each other apart (we already get a good taste of that prior to this scene). But they are together, and that's what counts. It's an imperfect but classic film on romance and prejudice, "us" and "them", no punches pulled.
½ March 16, 2016
Wonderfully acted portrait of modern society with its ugly fears and bigotry.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2015
A delicate and deeply resonant melodrama like only Fassbinder could have made, telling with plenty of honesty a simple but objective love story centered on revolting matters like prejudice and racism - problems relevant even today when it comes to immigrants in Europe.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2015
Very simple and yet so powerful.
July 26, 2015
Usually when I see relationships with a huge age gap portrayed on the screen I feel uncomfortable or I think it is unrealistic. With the relationship at the heart of this film, I felt much differently, and I have no idea why. Hearing that it seems to have been inspired by Douglas Sirk I went into this movie without huge expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised.

While I don't understand its full purpose yet, I was amazed by Fassbinder's awareness of the frame and putting smaller frames into the frame of the camera. These frames are not always perfect squares, but sometimes doorways to show the action going on in the other room, and I guess all I can say is it seems to speak to the voyeur. Repeated scenes with contrasting ideas/themes are also abound in this film, and these revisited scenes can be so different they can bring tears to the viewer's eyes. What is particularly sad is when the dance at the beginning of the film is redone at the film's conclusion with Ali admitting that he has cheated on his wife.

I like the relationship at the core, but I am unsure what to make of the characters. Ali seems a nice enough man, though he does not have perfect German and his dialogue often lacks the use of verbs. I don't have anything wrong with that, he doesn't fully know German yet, but it shows that even with his wise sayings he still has more to learn. As for Emmi, she is not ashamed to say she was part of Hitler's party and even wishes to go to a restaurant often visited by Hitler. I can totally understand this since this film is speaking from a German perspective, but as my classmates pointed out it is uncomfortable or strange to have a character who connects positively to Hitler.

I hated and loved other characters within this film for their racism and later catharsis, which shows it was able to get to my emotions.
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