Berlin, I Love You is an eye-rolling, tedious bore.
Let’s not mince words here. Berlin, I Love You is an anthology film that is the worst of its kind because it has no idea how people actually talk, interact, or connect with each other in any real or likely way, but thinks it has mastered the genre. It’s an eye-rolling, tedious bore that drowns in its own overtly outlandish sentimental mouth drool from all the constant nonsense talking. It’s almost as if Aaron Sorkin wrote the thing, but lost his talent.
The reason anthology or vignette films are so difficult to not just make (a successful one, mind you, which would be the Coen brothers; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), or at least to enjoy on some level, is the rush to unveil every character’s backstory in less than a handful of minutes. Filmmakers have to know how insincere and dishonest that really is, but fails to understand it — and maybe don’t even care.
Berlin, I Love You really excels at coincidental bromides and how inconceivably bad they show interaction, or how people connect with each other in any real or tangible way. Luke Wilson and Dianna Agron’s characters meet in a park while she performs a puppet show. Yet she happens to speak English, and within 10 seconds he is unveiling his entire life to her, while she says very little. Even worse is when the film’s script attempts to add some juice with an out of left field subplot of a German reporter (Game of Thrones’ Sibel Kekilli), kind of, who happens to drive a cab, then just happens to be carrying a guy who has what I assume are some highly classified government secrets in his pocket.
By far the most interesting story comes from veteran actor Mickey Rourke — who is really selling the past-your-prime male gigolo look as of late. His storyline with fashion model turned actress Toni Garner (who can be seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home next week) seemed likely to be the best option to expand a movie idea than the entirety of this chapter of the Cities of Love, on which this film is based.
While this review is the opposite of snarl free, I do love movies, and my poking of the bear here is my attempt to show my love to improve studio fare whose box office will make less than Netflix by the end of the year. Can we blame audiences for wanting to stay home to stream entertainment instead of overpaying for the privilege of characters yelling at someone on the big screen, “This is Berlin!” It’s as if being there is a prize, but all the stories have some terrible plight like child welfare, abused classes, mental health issues, and not to mention when everyone seems to have so much free time during a midweek day, unemployment in Berlin must be hitting record numbers.
The line between this love and hate is as wide as the Atlantic in Berlin, I Love You. If this a film that gets made to show us unconditional love in all forms to bring us together, let me end this review by saying maybe we should let it tear us apart first.
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.