Huh… so apparently, there’s a bit of history here. Summed up, this is a remake of a German film called HONIG IM KOPF back in 2014, which co-starred Til Schweiger of INGLORIOUS BASTERDS fame, and also starred in Uwe Boll’s FAR CRY. Quite the bounce in his body of work. But, in a twist of fate, the man has taken his movie and is now directing an American remake. Has Schweiger directed before? I’m so curious!
The story looks like it’s about a grandfather who is dying, or losing his memory. He starts reminiscing about the past and his granddaughter takes him on a journey to relive those memories.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Nick Nolte (RIDICULOUS 6 , and the upcoming ANGEL HAS FALLEN ), Sophia Lane Nolte (assuming this is her feature film debut, as she’s not even credited on IMDb; congrats, miss), and Matt Dillon (GOING IN STYLE ).
In support, we have Emily Mortimer (THE BOOKSHOP , SENSE OF AN ENDING , HUGO , NOTTING HILL , and upcoming films MARY POPPINS RETURNS  and GOOD POSTURE ), Claire Forlani (MYSTERY MEN , THE ROCK , and the upcoming FIVE FEET APART ), Til Schweiger (ATOMIC BLONDE , and the upcoming MEDIEVAL ), Jacqueline Bisset (9/11 , and the upcoming SOL Y SOMBRA ), and Eric Roberts (THE EXPENDABLES , THE DARK KNIGHT , and this dude has WAY too many upcoming projects).
Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing, we have Schweiger, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and is slated for the upcoming BERLIN, I LOVE YOU, now no release date. Schweiger’s partners-in-pen are Lo Malinke (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of) and Jojo Moyes (ME BEFORE YOU ). Confusingly, there are four composers: Baldenweg siblings Diego, Lionel Vincent, and Nora, all known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and Martin Todsharow (THE CAPTAIN  and FRIEND REQUEST ). The cinematographer is René Richter, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Finally, the editor is Christoph Strothjohann, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of, and the upcoming MIDWAY (2019).
Overall, this looks like it could be good. It’s starring Nick Nolte with his granddaughter, presumably, so this might be kinda cute, some genuine chemistry between the two actors. I’m optimistic.
This is my honest opinion of: HEAD FULL OF HONEY
From the perspective of ten-year-old Matilda “Tilde” (Sophia Lane Nolte). Amadeus (Nick Nolte) is Tilde’s grandfather and has recently lost his wife Margarette. To make matters worse, he has also developed Alzheimer’s. Tilde’s father (Matt Dillon) and mother (Emily Mortimer) do their best to support him and be understanding, but his constant confusion and destruction of the house has put them at their whit’s end and contemplate taking him to a nursing home. In a desperate attempt to keep him around, Tilde takes Amadeus to Venice to relive his earlier memories with his wife in the hope that his memory will improve.
Damn it, I really wanted to like this one. I mean, it did so much right, so many great things… but then it just had screw everything up with some seriously obnoxious choices that ruin it.
Alright, so let’s get tackle the positives. When I say that this movie did some great things, I truly mean it. This movie made me cry. Four freakin’ times, no less! I’m not joking! If you know me very well, it takes a lot for me to cry in a movie. I need to be fully invested in the characters, who need to be written so well that I almost forget I’m watching a movie and watching real people live their lives. In most respects, that’s exactly what this movie delivers. There are scenes where Nolte is acting his heart out and looks so fragile and vulnerable as Amadeus, barely able to hold on to his memories. He wants to be useful, despite not being able to do anything right, but he always means well. This also factors in to his natural chemistry with his real-life granddaughter Sophia Nolte. They are quite adorable together and even though Sophia isn’t the best actress in the world (she’s not good at all), I forgave it on the grounds that she had good expressions and had enough charm to distract me.
But for the love of absolute Christ, why were there so many scenes where was arguably the most obnoxious person on the face of the freakin’ Earth?? For every good scene of powerhouse emotions, there’s a complete butchering of emotional connection right around the corner. Why am I so brutal with this? Because far too many times, this movie shows that Amadeus is a disgusting horny old man. He is shown to make kissing noises, clicking his teeth, all that shit at both pictures of women and actual women. One scene is of a picture of a younger Emily Mortimer, and no less, doing that shit right in front of her. And when she protests, asking him to stop, and he complains that he “can’t do anything around here.” Are you kidding me?? There’s another scene where he does that to a younger French woman and he’s seen as charming. No! No, that’s not charming! It’s gross!
Amadeus does many other deplorable things in this movie too. There’s a scene where he tells a dirty nun joke… to a group of nuns. Oh, but it gets worse. By this point in the movie, the two are on the lamp, and no longer have any food or shelter. The nuns find them, and end up sheltering them and give them food. I don’t care if this is something that people do when they have Alzheimers, making a dirty joke at the expense of the people who are showing you compassion and generosity is about the most disgusting thing you can do, even if it is in jest. Early on, there’s another scene where Tilde and her father visit Amadeus to move him out of his home and while the father is in the other room, Amadeus pulls out a revolver that he claims isn’t loaded. He playfully fires off a shot IN THE HOUSE and laughs it off. A loaded magnum… in the house… right next to your granddaughter… YES!!! LAUGH IT OFF!!! So… so dumb. Near-involuntary manslaughter of your grandchild, what’s not to laugh about?
On that subject of Amadeus firing a live firearm near his grandkid, can I please just call out Tilde’s parents as terrible parents?! The magnum should have been enough to justify the father putting him in a home, but no, he practically rewards him by not only moving him into their house, but moving him in WITH ALL OF HIS STUFF! Not just the essentials, but ALL of his stuff in his house. I know that the parents are not on great terms, but this is so messed up on many levels. He’s volatile, he’s destructive, he’s whiny, these are all signs that point to him needing help that they can’t provide. No one is this stupid. There’s no reason why this movie couldn’t have progressed by them being responsible people and giving him to a home and visiting him. And that the mom is way too accepting of the situation doesn’t help. Actually, I take that back. She’s not happy with the situation, but her acceptance level fluctuates more than an intense game of Pong. When the garden is ruined, she freaks out. But when the house nearly catches fire because he forgot that he was making something in the oven, she hugs him and tells him that everything is alright. Nothing makes the least bit of sense.
The tone is all over the place. The movie tries to tow the line between being heavy drama mixed with comedy. Makes sense, people with conditions like this aren’t always depressive and just waiting to die. Life goes on, laughs are made, all that good stuff. And I admit that some scenes work like that. But all of it is ruined when the movie becomes way too cartoon-y. There’s a scene where the dad makes good on his promise to bring all of Amadeus’ worldly possessions and it arrives in a giant moving truck. Amadeus is trying to conduct the drivers to back into the driveway, which proceeds to obviously strike the mom’s car. Wanna know what’s screwed up? There were three people in the moving truck. One of them is a little person, sure, but there’s no reason why at least one of these guys couldn’t have lent a hand. Dumbest moving-employees on the face of the Earth. There’s also dumb cops, people reacting confusingly to some of Amadeus’ and Tilde’s antics, it just never ends.
It hurts so much to constantly rage against this movie. I came out of it initially liking it. Ready to give it a four out of five simply on the basis that it successfully tugged at my heart-strings. But after a couple of weeks of processing, I’ve realized just how manipulative it is. What makes this so baffling as well is that everyone behind the scenes working on this movie made the original German version, which seemed to be much more well-received. How did this happen? I can’t deny that there are some genuinely solid moments, but when woven together with moments that better serve a Loony Tunes short, this movie gets some serious disappointment from me. IMDb currently has it at a 3.3/10 (as of 12/12/2018) and I can’t in good consciousness argue with that. I disagree, only a little bit, but I get it if I see this on some worst lists of the year. As a recommendation, I say this is a pass. Not even a rental. You’re not missing much.
My honest rating for HEAD FULL OF HONEY: a weak 3/5
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