Paradise: Hope (2013)



Critic Consensus: After testing viewers' endurance with a pair of discomfitingly bleak films, Seidl concludes his Paradise trilogy on a surprisingly sensitive note.

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The concluding chapter of the trilogy tells the story of overweight 13-year-old Melanie and her first love. While her mother travels to Kenya (PARADISE: LOVE) and her aunt does missionary work (PARADISE: FAITH), Melanie spends her summer vacation at a strict diet camp for overweight teenagers. Between physical education and nutrition counseling, pillow fights and her first cigarette, Melanie falls in love with the camp director, a doctor forty years her senior. (C) Anthology Film Archives
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Melanie Lenz
as Melanie
Michael Thomas
as Sporttrainer
Vivian Bartsch
as Ernährungsberaterin
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Critic Reviews for Paradise: Hope

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (11)

This is, by some distance, the best movie of the three, and it showcases the impeccable symmetry of [Seidl's] compositions, while retaining his compulsion to wag a finger in your face.

Full Review… | December 20, 2013
New York Post
Top Critic

If this trilogy capper doesn't leave the contusions the other films have, it remains a necessary salve, particularly if you dare to binge-watch.

Full Review… | December 17, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

Seidl's camera always stands back to let the women's environments and their orientation within them tell their stories in a way that can inspire compassionate recognition.

Full Review… | December 17, 2013
Top Critic

Instead of being contemptuous and sardonic, the portrait of inchoate adolescent longing in "Paradise: Hope" is poignant.

Full Review… | December 16, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

The most hopeful - and the best - of this solid and unsettling series.

Full Review… | December 5, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

This tale of a creepy pedophilic relationship is the most tender, nuanced, and deeply felt picture Seidl has ever made.

Full Review… | December 4, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Paradise: Hope

Fine naturalistic dialog. Many implications of danger and risk. But overall a much gentler movie than the rest of the trilogy which does, indeed, hold out a more hopeful view of the human race.

Michael Harbour
Michael Harbour

I understand why critics would like this film, but it isn't really my cup of tea. I have no doubt that it accurately portrays what many contemporary Austrian teens do, say, and think, and that the portrayal of the creepy adults is highly plausible. I suppose that makes the film informative, but that doesn't mean watching these characters is interesting or fun.

Roy Smith
Roy Smith

13-year-old Melanie (Lenz) is sent to a summer camp for overweight teens in the Austrian countryside. There she makes friends with three girls whom she shares a dorm with, indulging in nocturnal parties, much to the chagrin of the authorities who run the facility. When the institute's fifty-something doctor, Artz (Lorenz), shows Melanie a creepy degree of affection, the young girl falls in love with him. Realizing Melanie's infatuation could cause him some serious problems, Artz attempts to keep her at a distance but finds it difficult to deny his attraction to her. Unfortunately I missed 'Paradise: Love', Seidl's tale of a group of middle-aged and middle-class Austrian women who travel to Kenya for a sex vacation. That film opened his 'Paradise' trilogy and was followed up by 'Paradise: Faith', a film I found both fascinating and frustrating in equal measures and which followed the exploits of a religious fanatic. Now the trilogy is completed with 'Paradise: Hope', a film that's a lot more frustrating than fascinating. The connection to the previous two installments is that Melanie is the daughter of 'Love's protagonists and the niece of the lead character of 'Faith'. A "fat camp" may seem like a strange setting for a film, especially given its divergence from the themes of the previous two entries in this series. I'm not sure if Seidl has a personal gripe with such institutions but the one featured here is enough to terrify any parent. A facility concerned with improving the physical well-being of teens would seem a truly bizarre target for a film-maker's ire and Seidl's methods of attack are hackneyed, blunt and often laughably over the top. Artz is so outwardly creepy that there's simply no way such an institution would allow him to work around kids. The copious alcohol consumption indulged in by the kids is baffling. How exactly do you get your hands on booze in a fat camp? Likewise a scene where the facility's kitchen is raided for junk food. Why would the kitchen of a fat camp be loaded with such food? As with 'Faith', 'Hope' is beautifully shot, every frame composed with teutonic precision, and the acting is outstanding and genuine, but Seidl spends too much time trying to bluntly hammer home a point that I'm not sure I understood and certainly didn't agree with.

The Movie Waffler
The Movie Waffler

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