How About Adolf? film review: name history tests family bond

How About Adolf?
How About Adolf?

STEPHAN and Elisabeth are hosting a dinner party to celebrate the impending birth of the son of Elisabeth’s brother Thomas and his girlfriend Anna.

When Thomas announces he plans to name his son Adolf, it sparks an intense argument about whether the history of a name should ban its usage forever.

A twist in the story causes the debate on etymology to become much more personal and it is not long before tensions rise, secrets are revealed and the evening escalates into the kind of fight only families are capable of.

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Based on the 2012 French film What’s in a Name? which in turn is based on the play of the same name, the film uses the staging of a single night and its singular setting to its advantage.

With the action mostly limited to three rooms, the claustrophobic tensions are tangible and our sympathies switch as each character airs their grievances and reveal some unpleasant truths.

Within the high drama comes high comedy.

The script, performances and the fluid camerawork all combine to make an immensely funny film.

At its heart, the film is about the strength of family bonds even when pushed to the absolute limit.

How About Adolf? is showing as part of the German Film Festival running May 28 to June 12.

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THE ESSENTIALS

How About Adolf? (CTC)

Directed by Snke Wortmann

Starring: Christoph Maria Herbst, Florian David Fitz, Caroline Peters

Four stars

Review by Lucy Rutherford