Beloved Sisters, a Stunning Tableau with a Captivating Story (Foreign Film Review)

BELOVED poster


Based on true facts the gorgeous period piece Beloved Sisters provides a sweeping canvas of romance and aristocratic life during the late 1700s Germany. The light drama delves into a period in the life of poet Friedrich Schiller who became enamored with the Lengefeld sisters that lived Germany’s upper class. If you like to indulge in long nicely written films with amazing vistas, picturesque estates, lavish costumes, ageless music and early century lifestyles, then this film is your cup of tea.

The film follows Charlotte “Lollo” von Lengefeld (Henriette Confurius) a young woman who enters Frau von Stein’s service at Weimar in Germany in hopes of becoming a lady of the court. Being that von Stein is well liked by Duke Carl August, Lotte’s interest lies in finding someone wealthy and of noble birth as a husband. This would allow her to live a better life than at the village where she grew up. Over a period of time she finds herself beleaguered by the lack of suitors. One day she meets Fredrich von Schiller a budding poet and writer who shows interest in Lollo. In the meantime Lollo’s married sister Caroline “Line” von Beulwitz (Hannah Herszsprung) comes to visit her and the two women find themselves in a love triangle with Schiller.

Charlotte (Henriette Confurius), Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter) and Caroline (Hannah Herzsprung)

Charlotte (Henriette Confurius), Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter) and Caroline (Hannah Herzsprung)

While my synopses of the movie is quite short, the nearly three hour film moves along quite nicely with a historical biography of the famous poet’s alternative lifestyle. His influence on the people of Germany continue to hold him to this day in high esteem. Director Dominik Graf turns what could have been a boring look at German aristocracy into a lavish “life painting” that intrigues. He moves his characters around on his canvas showing the period’s standards of living, politics, challenges, loves, and despair. It’s only in the finale however that we realize there’s more to life than a work of art.

Schiller and Charlotte get married in Beloved Sisters

Schiller and Charlotte get married in Beloved Sisters

The stars of the film are extremely impressive in their 18th century roles. Wisely chosen both Henriette Confurius and Hannah Herszsprung look a lot alike giving a true sister feel of to their roles. Both charming and cinema stellar, they embody their characters creating an aura of realism. Under the gentle direction of Graf the two show a deep seeded love for each other. When Lollo and Line are put to the test of their bond however, the actresses act out a typical reaction between the two siblings and turn their heated performances into a poignant screen moment.

Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter) gives his first lecture as a professor in Beloved Sisters

Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter) gives his first lecture as a professor in Beloved Sisters

As Fredrich von Schiller the fine actor Florian Stetter does a very good job of bringing the poet to life on the screen. He’s gallant, promising and handsome, a perfect partner for the unexpected love triangle that develops within the script. Coming from a good family background is not enough to bring Fredrich fame in Germany and not having the money leads him to court Lollo. He marries Lollo for her position in the community and things start to escalate for Fredrich. When Line comes into the picture however, things start to get complicated. It’s at this point in the film where Stetter is at his best showing the pressure of the unconventional affair.

Beloved Sisters is unrated but contains sexuality, brief nudity, minor violence and language. The film is played out in German with easy to read English Subtitles.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A stunning tableau with a captivating script. (B)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Henriette, Florian Stetter and Hannah Herzsprung
Directed by: Dominik Graf
Genre: Historical Drama, Romance, Foreign
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 2 hrs 50 min
Release Date: January 9, 2015
Distributed by: Music Box Films

Now showing at:

Laemmle’s Royal Theater in Los Angeles, Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, and Laemmle’s Town Center 5 in Encino. Check your local listings for other theaters.

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