Like a porcelain dish commemorating a famous person, this biopic has little to teach us about the great German writer but sure makes him look adorable. The film's original title was Goethe!, yet clearly director and cowriter Philipp Stolzl (North Face) is taking his cues from Shakespeare in Love (1998), dressing up a formulaic rom-com with historical trivia and lavish production design. If you can tolerate the overbearing music (think John Williams at his most manipulative), this is relatively painless, thanks to a lighthearted tone and some energetic lead performances. Still, it's hard to believe that the puppy love presented here inspired the most enduring literature of German Romanticism. In German with subtitles.
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