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Undine (NYFF 2020); Grade: B

Strictly Films welcomes you back to more coverage of this years New York Film Festival! Our next film on the block: Undine.

Undine tells a story about a woman named Undine (Paula Beer) who works as a historian. Undine and her boyfriend are splitting up, as Undine refuses to let him go as he threaten’s death if he chooses to leave her... Well then. As Undine returns from her break and her boyfriend has left the cafe, Undine luckily gets acquainted with another handsome chap named Christoph (Franz Rogowski) whom works as a underwater engineer. Undine and Christoph hit it off, as this could be the start of something beautiful.

The Cinematography was solid, a nice looking film as I truly adored the concluding sequence shots at the end. The Score is barely present, but when it comes about with this random piano tune... It’s fine. A pretty basic and simple composed piano tune, you probably have heard from the past. The cast all in all is solid as a whole. Paula Beer playing Undine had a pretty good performance, as one whom has serious issues regarding the relationship department. This is definitely a character that takes things to the extreme, whether it be with her past boyfriend or now with Christoph... I mean sheesh slow ya roll. But then again love will make you do crazy things, so I understand Undine’s struggles. Franz Rogowski playing Christoph played a good performance as well. Christoph is a very charming and loving human being, as he tends to love Undine throughly as a woman. He definitely does complete Undine, as the thought of Undine would never leave this mans mind, as he truly loved this woman.

A few flaws with Undine I have. Some of the story elements are kind of ridiculous, as it compares to the likes of any ordinary Nicholas Sparks romance film. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with those beloved chick flicks, but what this film attempts can sometimes be a bit much. One character sees another character attempting suicide by the water, as they are in a relationship as I come to ask... Why did this character stands there, as she just lets that him be?! Knowing this character has previously almost encountered a near death experience and definitely has some issues, you would think this character would rush by the water, as they would try to save them?!

Undine comes from the director whom made last years Transit, a film that ranked top 10 of my best films of the year list. So of course Undine was already on my watchlist, even if this film wasn’t on my festival package, I would’ve still rented this one in full payment. Undine is nowhere near as excellent as Transit, however it’s still an enjoyable romantic drama.

The story may feel a bit silly, however still achieves the romance portion between our beloved characters. Undine was broken when her boyfriend broke up with her, as Christoph came around at the right time. While as Christoph admired Undine’s intelligence, she also complimented his love, devotion, and affection he had towards her. Undine’s choices made at the end of her journey may feel a bit suspect, however without Christoph it felt as if she couldn’t go on life without him by her side. While as Christoph his love for her never escapes his mind, as without her Christoph tends to have suicidal thoughts so he can reunite with her.

It’s a love in which is pure, as without each significant other, it’s hard for each character to imagine a life without them, which I can throughly understand it. May not be one of the best romance films I’ve seen this year, however it still manages to get the job done, as though a bit goofy can still be enjoyable, especially when both lead actors have solid chemistry with one another.

Overall, Undine is a solid film. I recommend checking this one out, do check out Transit though as that is purely excellent. -Mitch Smietana

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