Young Goethe In Love: Press Reactions

“While Stölzl is clearly borrowing from other historical flights of fancy, such as “Amadeus” and “Cyrano de Bergerac,” along with “Shakespeare in Love,” the helmer and fellow screenwriters Christoph Mueller and Alexander Dydyna expertly mold these elements to fit the characters and situations’ own requirements, and expertly alternate romance, humor and drama without losing their grip on the characters and their dilemmas.” – Boyd Van Hoeij, Variety

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Young Goethe In Love: More Producer’s Notes by Christoph Müller

Director and co-writer Philipp Stölzl adds, “I thought the idea to tell the story about the young Goethe was great – about Sturm und Drang, about the period when he still wasn’t the famous privy councilor, minister, and poet laureate. Goethe studies law, he writes poetry, he falls unhappily in love, he fights with his father. This has elements of a young man’s rebellion; this is a Goethe you want to see in the cinema.”

Müller says about the celebrated director of NORTH FACE: “I thought working with Philipp was very inspiring; I like how precisely he handles language, timing, and direction. For me as the producer, working together on the screenplay is the ideal way to do it, because you can adjust extremely well to the director’s work methods before you start shooting the film.” Stölzl adds, “At the same time, financing the film worked out very well and happened very quickly. We only needed about a year, from the moment we started to write the script to the moment we began shooting the film. Goethe as the concept, Christoph as the producer, me as the director – that worked.”

Müller continues, “A historical film is just as elaborate as a science fiction film; you have to create a completely new world, because you can’t find locations that look the way things looked in the 18th century anymore.”

New and familiar faces in front of the camera

“Alexander Fehling had already been in films, but I didn’t know him,” says Stölzl. “He was the first candidate to show up at casting for the role of Goethe, and I knew after a minute that he’s our lead. He was 100% convincing. And then shooting with Alexander confirmed it completely. He’s an absolutely exceptional actor. He can play the comical moments as well as the tragic ones; he has an unbelievable palette – everything you want from an actor. We were extremely lucky to
find him. His precise performance is also the result of our close collaboration, as we worked on and tried many variations together to arrive at what would serve the role the best.”

On casting Miriam Stein as Lotte, Müller explains, “It’s very, very rare that you discover someone like Miriam. With Goethe and also with Lotte, we considered whether we should cast established stars, because with an elaborate costume film, in your mind you automatically see big names on the film poster. But we liked Miriam best for the role of Lotte. Though she he had never been in a feature film before, she rewarded us with her unbelievably intense performance.” Stölzl agrees,

“As Lotte, with her tousled hair, young Miriam Stein is the right contrast to Goethe. Most of all, she’s a convincing actress with a large emotional range, which enraptured me and made me proud.”

Goethe is not the only one who falls in love with Lotte – his superior, court councilor Kestner, does, too. Moritz Bleibtreu plays this role. “Moritz feels at home in every genre, from drama to comedy,” says Müller. “With his very perceptive performance in the difficult role of Kestner he resonates with the audience.” Stölzl adds, “You could have also cast Kestner as grayer and more bureaucratic. But we also wanted to show him as an attractive man; the audience has to believe he wants to marry this girl at any cost. There’s something touching about that. This means the two men trying to win over Lotte’s heart have more or less the same chance. If you wanted to make the accents clear from the start, then over here you would have the young, good-looking wild one, and over there the plain, boring one, who can only offer the girl a long and dismal married life— but then there wouldn’t be any tension. That’s why I’m even happier now about how well the triangle works between the men and Lotte.”

The ensemble includes two renowned actors as the fathers: Burghart Klaussner and Henry Hübchen shine with the qualities you want to have in these small yet decisive roles.

Young Goethe In Love: Producer’s Notes by Christoph Müller

Goethe is Germany’s most famous and important poet and philosopher, yet there has never been a relevant feature film about this extraordinary personality.

There’s a reason for this, too: Goethe could do everything and was everything! He was handsome, came from a wealthy family, wrote successful novels, theater plays and poems, was an accomplished horseback rider and fencer, invented roller skates and discovered the pharyngeal bone, and he was a natural scientist, privy councilor, traveler, artist, minister, lawyer, and much, much more – all in all, a universal genius and thus a completely non-dramatic character for a feature film! But there was a time in young Goethe’s life when he was tortured by self-doubt and self-discovery. A time when he almost died due to an unrequited love, and the only thing that rescued him was dealing with the episode by writing about it.

The film YOUNG GOETHE IN LOVE tells the story of this 23-year-old, who achieved his greatest artistic success as a result of his greatest love pangs: The Sorrows of Young Werther. The appeal of the story is that it shows Goethe was not always the mythical figure and all-round genius as portrayed in thousands of books, interpretations and theories, but rather a young man who loved and suffered.
-Christoph Müller

PRODUCTION NOTES
“What’s exciting about the story of how Werther was created is that it was Goethe’s most personal, almost autobiographic novel, a work he was the proudest of, along with ‘Faust’,” says producer and co-writer, Christoph Müller.

“What’s also unusual about the publishing history of Werther is that the exciting story in the epistolary novel has always been, even back then, viewed in connection with the actual events in Goethe’s life. Almost every reader knew Goethe had experienced the love story with Lotte himself,” continues Müller. “The wave of suicides as a result of Werther was the first media phenomenon and had never been seen before. The young men who killed themselves after reading Werther, however, ignored, the fact that Goethe was able to rescue himself from his self destructive mood by writing the book.”

But not only unhappy lovers devoured the famous novel. “Werther was an immense catalyst of sentimental pessimism, yearning, and passion,” says Müller. “At first I developed a cinematic story that dealt with the period after the success of Werther and Goethe’s writer’s block afterwards – until my brother Markus came up with the idea that it would be much more exciting to develop the story of the ‘blissful and dangerous summer of 1772 in Wetzlar,’ which led to the creation of Werther. We then worked on different constellations of this story for a long time, but it wasn’t until Philipp Stölzl and our young co-author, Alexander Dydyna, came along that we finally managed to hit on the right concept for the script.”

Preview: Young Goethe In Love

First we had young William Shakespeare in Love back in 1998. Now we have German poet Johann Goethe and his epic love that propelled him to greatness. This German language film promises to be a rich and intense look at the biography of Goethe. For those unfamiliar with the German philosopher, this film with make you want to read his works which have been translated into English. Writing comes from the heart and many great literary giants who belong to history were born out of heartbreak. Like England’s Keats, Goethe is no exception. His love lives on in the many ways he expressed to his beloved: Ich Lieben Die (I Love You).

Young Goethe In Love

Germany 1772 – the young and tumultuous Johann Goethe (Alexander Fehling) aspires to be a poet but after failing his law exams, is sent by his father (Henry Huebchen) to a sleepy provincial court to mend his ways. Unsure of his talent and eager to prove himself, Goethe soon wins the praise and friendship of his superior Kestner (Moritz Bleibtreu). But then Lotte (Miriam Stein) enters his life and nothing is the same as before. However, the young lovers are unaware that her father has already promised Lotte’s hand to another man.

Germany 1772 – the young and tumultuous Johann Goethe (Alexander Fehling) aspires to be a poet; but after failing his law exams, he is sent by his father (Henry Huebchen) to a sleepy provincial court to mend his ways. Unsure of his talent and eager to prove himself, Goethe soon wins the praise and friendship of his superior Kestner (Moritz Bleibtreu). But then Lotte (Miriam Stein) enters his life and nothing is the same as before. However, the young lovers are unaware that her father has already promised Lotte’s hand to another man.

Director Phillip Stölzl (“Northface”) returns to the very wellspring of Romanticism – Goethe’s autobiographical masterpiece “The Sorrows of Young Werther” – and conjures up a beguiling and refreshingly innocent period romance.

Crazy About Like Crazy

Remember what it was like to be young and in love? Hollywood does but it gives us trivia and formula like young love romances by the bundle. If Glee is the highlight of teen romance then one has to wonder if its just one big adolescent hormone running the show. Until a movie such as Like Crazy comes around and reminds you that young love is just as real and potent as older adult love. Like Crazy examines just how much the soul can tug you to another. Its like a magnetic force. You can be thousands of miles away but that other person is still inside you. As you get older you may forget what that dizzy emotion of love and passion once was. Your mind may become so rational that it disowns any thoughts of bliss. Like Crazy serves as a reminder of how deep a bond can be. We all need to remember just how much we too once loved someone. Love is what makes us human. Watching Like Crazy is as much about knowing how sad we are when love leaves us and how lucky we were to have found it.

Photo courtesy of Fred Hayes/Paramount Pictures

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