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Movie Reviews

Centre Of My World (Die Mitte Der Welt)



Released: 16th June 2017 (UK)

Directed By: Jakob M.Erwa

Starring: Louis Hofmann, Sabine Timoteo, Jannik Schumann

Reviewed By: Darryl Griffiths

The potent purple haze of an idyllic slow-motion opening, enhancing care-free and adventurous traits that encapsulate the tender years of our fresh-faced protagonist. Only to greet us in his teens bearing a long sleeved ‘Happily In’ t-shirt, expressing dismay at his conformist neighbours.

Yet this wondrous big-screen adaptation of the Andreas Steinhofel novel ‘Center Of My World’ is a far cry from being a bleak coming out tale, possessing a wonderfully inclusive and open-minded spirit towards homosexuality that lingers throughout its first-love narrative.

A German small-town boy (cue the Bronski Beat!) back from Summer camp, the steely gaze of Louis Hofmann’s Phil surveying the wreckage on the way home, proves an effective foreshadowing of the frayed familial ties.

As the bond he shares with his flamboyant pink-haired pal Kat (Svenja Jung) seems unbreakable, the breakdown in communication between his loving mother Glass (Sabine Timoteo) and rather muted sister Diane (Ada Philine Stappenback) is unnervingly ambiguous.

Less so is his fierce attraction towards a new student, the athletic Nicholas (Jannik Shuemann) who he believes he shared a fond albeit fleeting moment with growing up, as the film beautifully paints their intense connection that may just aid Phil in confronting the uncertainties of his past.

From the idealist perceptions of a non-existent father figure that leap from adventurer at sea to cowboy on a ranch. To the dream-like jump between a stiflingly intimate gym changing room moment and Phil slowly loosening the grip off the handlebars of his bike.

Director M.Erwa conjures up a captivating, fantastical feel to proceedings that whilst the odd visual flourish to represent its blossoming romance is lacking in subtlety, the film rarely loses sight of its profound and grounded themes.

Armed with a bow and arrow as a youngster perhaps serving as an effective fairytale nod to Cupid, the sheer passion Louis Hoffman instills into Phil, as he slowly draws out the slight naivety of his golden-locked character is a joy to watch.

Merely complimented by the relationships he shares as the overwhelming drama that ultimately greets him with Jung’s Kat and Shuemann’s Nicholas, proving both refreshing in its dilemma and restrained in its execution, whilst Timoteo’s Glass is the film’s quirky beating heart as she wrestles with the secrets that consume her.

Despite stacking the subplots within its undeniably busy second half, that does leave certain plot threads dangling. In skilfully deconstructing a rose-tinted view of life through young eyes, Centre Of My World’s rapturous romance and heart-wrenching revelations make for a deeply affecting addition to the coming-of-age genre.

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