Another popular title from Goethe is Faust.
Young Goethe In Love will instantly set off alarm bells with the films title alone (not to mention the similarities in the DVD release cover art, or even that of Princess Bride). Is it anything like John Madden’s 1998 masterpiece Shakespeare In Love? Kind of. Young Goethe is a bumbling poet whose charismatic love for writing is dashed at every turn. Enter a woman, the beautiful Lotte Buff (played by the equally beautiful Miriam Stein) that inspires him to write a masterpiece. A romance, an arranged wedding, and a bit of tragedy ensue. The film also borrows from the same formula of switching from comedic to dramatic in an instant. So how close are the two films when all is said and done?
Unlike Shakespeare, Young Goethe In Love isn’t as well paced. The impact the movie is attempting here is to provide you, the viewer, with a compelling story about two people who cannot live without one another, but due to propriety and other such formalities of the time, a sacrifice must be made. I wasn’t feeling that which is a shame considering how beautiful the locations and backdrops were in the film. Gorgeous fields and towering forests and mountains, the capture of something so simple as the moon in the right hand corner of a night shot, the brilliance of the city. The compelling angle of the romance lasted for all of ten or fifteen minutes before we’re to be convinced that these two are desperately in love. Even as a hopeless romantic I couldn’t buy into it. From there the story hopes to have you hooked and eating up the remainder of the tale. If anything the film does offer up a very Goethe look at love from a psychological stand point.
Because the affair is so short one can only assume that the point being driven here is that as humans we do not know what love is, or have made it up. Boy meets girl, boy conquers girl, other boy comes along. From there it’s less about love and more about protecting the thing which you have conquered, and that sentiment goes both ways between Goethe and Albert Kestner as the film progresses and Lotte becomes a token of property. The love story aspect though just feels rushed, crammed, and unfulfilled. Weather or not the film depicts an accurate retelling of this time in young Goethe’s life is irrelevant as the film simply mirrors to heavily that of Madden’s take of poetry, love, and tragedy. As always final judgment is yours.