No clever segue. The only thing about this movie that I was aware of was the title, which I’ve seen crop up from time to time doing my reviews, and that it stars Amandla Stenberg. Also, this movie came out of nowhere. Beyond that, nothing else. But now that I’ve seen the trailer, at long last…
The story looks like it’s about a black girl in Nazi Germany, who faces discrimination, but also finds romance with a young German boy.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Amandla Stenberg (DARKEST MINDS , EVERYTHING EVERYTHING , and the upcoming THE HATE U GIVE ), Abbie Cornish (THREE BILLBOARDS ), Christopher Eccleston (THOR: THE DARK WORLD , G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA , and THE OTHERS ), George MacKay (CAPTAIN FANTASTIC , and upcoming films BEEN SO LONG  and OPHELIA ), and Will Attenborough (DUNKIRK , DENIAL , and the upcoming HUNTER KILLER ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing, we have Amma Asante, known for A UNITED KINGDOM (2017). Composing the score is Anne Chmelewsky, known for short films. The cinematographer is Remi Adefarasin, known for JULIET, NAKED (2018), PRIDE PREJUDICE ZOMBIES (2016), JOHNNY ENGLISH (2003), and the upcoming FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY (2019). Finally, the editor is Steve Singleton, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of.
Overall, I’m not expecting much. The trailer’s not giving me enough to be excited about.
This is my honest opinion of: WHERE HANDS TOUCH
Set in Germany, circa 1944. Leyna (Amandla Stenberg) is a sixteen year old black German girl, and despite having an Arian mother and younger brother, she is constantly faced by hardship and discrimination. The only exception is Lutz (George MacKay), a young German soldier still in training and the two begin a forbidden and dangerous romance.
God, I hate being behind on reviews, but if I had to fish for a reaction, I would say… meh. This movie left such little impact that I barely remember what happened in it.
On the surface, a black German girl living in Nazi Germany doesn’t sound like the worst idea ever. But then you actually watch the movie and it’s pretty much the exact story one would expect out of this. She’s black and therefore is not accepted by her peers. I’m an American. Trust me, there’s movies and people who remind us all the time about prejudices and inequality. If you’re going to tackle this subject, make it unique. Sure, the details about the segregation against Leyna may be different, but not by much. Constantly needing to show her identification papers, some asshole burning her papers that prove that she’s legally allowed to live there, only one boy expresses any sympathy, it’s pretty basic in it’s overall presentation.
The biggest problem is that this movie feels incredibly uneven. On the one hand, it’s trying to be a romantic drama in the same vein of Romeo and Juliet. But then it suddenly goes full on Anne Frank, putting Leyna in a concentration camp and trying to survive. This is not the same movie that the audience starts off in and it’s pretty jarring. Look, I’m no historian. I have no idea what kind of segregation and racism that black Germans faced. I’m sure it was an awful time for everyone. But if you’re going to make a story that speaks for those people, could the movie be less dumb about it? I mean, this doesn’t explicitly say that it’s based on a true story. In a country full of who are perceived to be Nazis, I doubt an easy target like a black girl would risk her family all for the sake of a penis. There’s just too much at stake. And lo and behold, the unthinkable happens! She goes to a camp and gets treated like shit and separated from her family.
I might give the movie the slightest bit of credit that the actors are trying. I certainly don’t believe that the characters are well-written, I don’t believe their accents are German, but I believe that everyone is trying to make this movie not a piece of shit. But other than that, it’s a wholly uninteresting melodrama. There’s probably something interesting in a story like this, but this movie is not that interesting. It’s just a bland tween romance that takes place in Nazi Germany and something about that seems… not smart. This movie is likely way gone from theaters by the time I get this out, but I don’t even recommend it as a rental. It’s not exactly the garbage dump that I was led to believe it was, but it’s not a good movie. Not by a long shot.
My honest rating for WHERE HANDS TOUCH: 2/5
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