A Coffee in Berlin ★★★

"Lightly likable" but not all that likable; probably should've bailed early, when the easy listening jazz-on-a-bougie-Sunday-afternoon kicked in just in case the black and white images weren't winsomely charming enough. There are comic highlights — a dude awkwardly extricating himself out of his girlfriend's apartment, and possibly out of the relationship; confrontations with a freakishly hostile shrink evaluating our hero's fitness to have his driver's license restored — but (not an unusual development, of course) the film wilts when it's time to get serious. Early on, our boy visits a film set for a feature about an affair between a Nazi and a Jewish woman, and the movie ends thematically with a long bar speech from an old guy who reminisces about kristallnacht (and then, having served almost all of his dramatic functions, completes them by dying immediately thereafter), which is supposed to...what? Put the kind of bad day when it seems like an entire city — both its inanimate objects and people — has inexplicably turned on you by saying "Hey, at least it's not Nazi Germany?" Or this a last-minute reorientation of the film as a piece about how, if you run deep enough, every German still feels the weight of collective guilt? Whatever the intent, it doesn't come off.

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