Young Goethe in Love (2010)

Original Title



Drama | Romance


Philipp Stölzt




Alexander Fehling, Miriam Stein, Moritz Bleibtreu, Volker Bruch, Burghart Klaußner, Henry Hübchen, Hans-Michael Rehnberg


After aspiring poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Alexander Fehling) fails his law exams, he's sent to a sleepy provincial court to reform. Instead, he falls for Lotte (Miriam Stein), a young woman who is promised to another man (Moritz Bleibtreu).


I love Goethe's poems, and I've been meaning to read "The Sorrows of Young Werther" for such a long time, I thought it would have been great to see the biopic that narrates the events that lead up to his famous book. Instead I have been disappointed. "Young Goethe in Love" isn't by any means a terrible film, but drowns in clichés and isn't much more than just a romantic drama.

While the original title - Goethe! -, especially the exclamation point, sums up the film's approach, which is emphatic and silly, the English title highlights the focus of director Philipp Stölzt: the romantic misadventure of one of the most acclaimed German writers ever.

Unfortunately when making a biopic chances are the film is going to be boring, so the filmmakers decided to bring on screen a fictionalised version of real life events that blends Goethe's life with the ongoings of his debut novel, and for some reason felt the need to over-dramatize it.

The doomed love story is very well-structured, but everything else feels left behind. Goethe's colleague, for example, commits suicide, but we don't get to know the character enough to care about it. Sure, it's sad because the character is nice and a friend of Goethe, but we almost even know he is madly in love, yet he kills himself over the woman he loves.

But it isn't all bad. The settings and the costumes are absolutely gorgeous. For the first, the beauty of Europe has to be thanked; for the latter the dressmakers because the costumes look like actual clothes, not like brand new outfits made specifically for the movie.

A good reason, and probably the only one, to watch the film is the performances by Alexander Fehling, best known as one of the doomed German soldiers in Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds", who gives the character of Goethe the charm and likability he needed, and Miriam Stein as his love interest, Lotte, who manages to pop on the screen with her exuberance and innocence.


  1. I wish i could see this film as it sounds like a good one to see despite its flaws