Alles ist gut (2018)

When dealing with a subject as sensitive as rape, films usually go for the unexpected act of extreme violence followed by its devastating and dramatic consequences, and that usually leaves room for little else. Thankfully, that's not the case with Eva Trobisch's Alles ist gut (All good), a restrained debut that provides an interesting, rather unique and compelling perspective on sexual abuse and its psychological effects; a film Netflix can finally be proud of. 

Written by Trobisch, the story follows Janne (Aenne Schwarz), a young woman in a live-in relationship with her boyfriend, Piet (Andreas Döhler), who is now facing a financial crisis as the publishing house they run together has gone bankrupt. 

On the weekend, Janne goes back to her hometown for her high school reunion; she runs into Robert (Tilo Nest), the man she used to babysit for, who offers her a job. At the same time, she meets Martin (Hans Löw), Robert's brother-in-law who happens to be attending the same reunion. After an ordinary but fun night at the reunion, as they both are a little tipsy, Janne offers Martin to crush at her place. Although there's no flirtation, Martin misinterprets her generosity and makes a move; she rejects him and asks him to stop, and he forces himself on her. 

After a brief struggle, Janne endures the rape, does not report it and does not talk about it as she tries to move on with her life as if nothing had happened. But in the following days, when she accepts Robert's offer and learns that Martin will also be working there, she realises that pretending that it's all good isn't going to be as easy as she thought. 

As you may have guessed, Alles ist gut is not a plot-heavy film — the story is indeed very simple and straightforward. It also features a couple of subplots — one about Janne's relationship with Piet; the other revolving around Robert's marriage — that aren't particularly compelling and often take away the focus from the main storyline. 

These flaws, however, aren't much of an issue here as this is the kind of film that relies entirely on its characters, and the script is quite strong on that front. First of all, Trobish does not fall in the cliché of portraying the characters as either good or bad, and all of them are relatable in some way or another — even the rapist, at some point, as he is not "only" the monster one would expect a rapist to be, but a good man who, once sober, regrets what he did. Second, it has a very strong lead. Not only Trobisch takes her time to introduce Janne and allows us to form an attachment to her almost immediately — therefore we care about her —, but she wrote a character that feels tremendously real. Janne is a tough young woman who is used to relying on nobody but herself, and decides to keep quiet about the abuse not because she refuses to take the role of the victim but because she thinks that's the best option. She wants to move on with her life, just forget about the traumatic event. And how to blame her? After all, we live in a society that still doesn't know how to treat rape victims, and often, usually, ends up blaming the victim for the violence — how many times have we heard things like "she should have not worn that dress" or "she should have not got drunk"? 

Aenne Schwarz's nuanced performance as Janne is easily the film's greatest strength as she owns the character from start to finish. She smiles, even laughs, but while doing so, either with a curl of the lip or a glance, she manages to convey the devastating emotional effects of the rape. She tries to brush it off but at the same time you can read anger, shame, disgust on her face. She acts like she is in control, but there's always that tiny movement on her face that makes you realise she's crumbling. The performance is so powerful, I was on the verge of tears several times. 

The rape scene is also worth mentioning as it's one of the best-handled rape scenes I've seen in movies. It's not an overly-dramatic scene that shows off the violence and the rapist but a real-world scenario as it focuses on Janne as she feels overpowered and helpless, and gives in physically because, once again, that's the best option. 


  1. This being on Netflix sounds helpful as I'd probably fast forward through the rape scene. I speak German, but not as well as I used to, so I've been trying to watch German films without subtitles to try to pick it up again. This sounds like one I should watch.Thanks for putting it on my radar

    1. Please do watch this. It's so worth the time!