Yella (2008)

Yella (2008)



Critic Consensus: Chilly and haunting, Yella's atmosphere gets under the skin.

Yella Photos

Movie Info

Narrowly escaping her volatile ex-husband, Yella flees her small hometown in former East Germany for a new life in the West. She finds a promising job with Philipp, a handsome business executive with whom an unlikely romance soon blossoms. But just as Yella seems poised to realize her dreams, she finds herself haunted by buried truths that threaten to destroy her newfound happiness.
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
The Cinema Guild

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Nina Hoss
as Yella Fichte
Christian Redl
as Yella's Father
Michael Wittenborn
as Schmitt-Ott
Burghart Klaussner
as Dr. Gunthen
Peter Benedict
as Friedrich's Advocate
Joachim Nimtz
as Prietzel
Barbara Auer
as Barbara Gunthen
Selin Barbara Petzold
as Dr. Gunthen's Daughter
Martin Brambach
as Dr. Fritz
Wanja Mues
as Sprenger
Devid Striesow
as Philipp
Ian Norval
as Receptionist
Peter Knaack
as Bailiff
Thomas Giese
as Cashier
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Critic Reviews for Yella

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (15)

This unusual film has all the appearance of simply being a well-done drama, but there is considerably more on writer-director Christian Petzold's mind.

Full Review… | September 19, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

[A] tightly controlled metaphysical horror movie.

Full Review… | September 18, 2008
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

This crisply made thriller begins as a harrowing tale of a young German woman stalked by her deranged ex-husband, but quickly turns into an investigation of the murkier depths of capitalism.

Full Review… | September 5, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Strikes a perfect balance between corporate intrigue and metaphysical mystery; his 2007 drama is filled with suspense but ends in delicious ambiguity.

Full Review… | August 1, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Yella is a reserved young woman with unrevealed depths of intelligence, larceny and passion. Their gradual revelation makes this more than an ordinary thriller, in great part because of the performance of Nina Hoss in the title role.

Full Review… | July 31, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The German offering Yella begins with an utterly gripping first 15 minutes, follows with a passable drama and ends with a big disappointment.

Full Review… | July 31, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Yella


not to be confused with the 50s classic "Old Yella", this movie purposely feels somewhat like a dream (or nightmare), where everything seems a bit out of balance. The acting is fine but I guessed the ending about 15 minutes into the film---I have seen similar movies recently with the same storyline and 'surprise ending'. Still a decent watch...

alan jay
alan jay

Super Reviewer


Even with an obvious conclusion, "Yella" is still a compelling movie, simply told, with a quietly strong performance from Nina Hoss as the title character, a young woman seeking to make a new start for herself in Hannover. First, she returns to her hometown for a night to get a change of clothes and to tell her father(Christian Redl) that she got a job and a place to stay. But the past will not leave her alone in the person of Ben(Hinnerk Schonemann), her very estanged husband and a failed businessman, who follows her around before offering her a ride to the train station the following morning. Seeing no harm, wishing to be polite and get it over with, Yella accepts. That turns out to be a huge mistake as he berates her, does not let her get out of the car and even tries to kill them both by driving over the side of a bridge. She survives to go to Hannover, a journey that will encapsulate all the fears and hopes of her new life.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

'Christian Petzold 's drama deals with a woman, who leaves her hometown for a promising job and a new life, but is haunted by the truths of the past. As her marriage to Ben broke and her professional career has no future in her native town in the Eastern part of Germany, Yella has decided to search for a job in the West. When she gets to know Philipp, a smart executive at a private equity company in Hanover, she becomes his assistant and gets involved into the world of ruthless and big business. Realizing her dreams could come true with Philipp's help, she starts hearing voices and sounds from her past, which menace her new and better life. Photobucket The movie is well-shot, but in no way does that compensate for a future story. The problem is that there is no good direction in the film. I don't know what she's running away from, nor do I know where she is heading. Usually, not knowing where the film is going is something I can enjoy, but here, it all seems pointless. The opening scene, where Ben follows Yella in his car does set a tone, but I think it does not explain why Yella wants to move away from him. At two points Ben breaks into her hotel room. One plot hole, at least to me, was how on earth did he manage to get into her hotel room? I doubt he just walked up to the reception and asked for the key. Yella doesn't seem to do anything further about it: she doesn't ask for her room to be changed, or even seek advice from anyone. Yella's new job' isn't explained well either, all I know is that there are negotiations, and envelopes of money are exchanged. To some extent, this is acceptable, because Yella isn't given any good explanation of what's happening. But, considering how much of the film seems to take place in boardrooms, a little revelation of what is actually going on would've been appreciated. When Yella proclaims her love to Phillip, I lost any sympathy for her, because it is obvious that she is the typical weak female, falling for 'the bad guy', and she doesn't even try to change her fate. After leaving her husband, who was stalking her, she falls Phillip,another bad guy who steals money from his employer, and so she seems to hope that all of a sudden life will become better?? Oh, Common... Poor, very poor German film.

Daisy  Maduro
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

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