Film: Lykkelig i 24 timer
Director: Sonja Heiss
Actors: Laura Tonke, Hans Löw, Leander Nitsche
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Text: Yeonwoo Baik
The film starts with our heroin Hedi Schneider cheerfully heading to work on a bicycle in a floral dress. She then gets stuck in an elevator—where she fails to lose her cheerfulness, talking and making jokes to the guard on the other end of the alarm system. One day however, a panic attack suddenly hits Hedi – perhaps slightly foreshadowed by her elevator situation as well as additional little incidents including a suicide attempt by her co-worker and her son talking about death – changing her whole life. The original title «Hedi Schneider steckt fest» (“Hedi Schneider Is Stuck”) kicks into the film at this point. Hedi is trapped by the anxiety and depression in her head, confining her to her house and forcing her to be dependent on medication that is meant for use only in emergencies. The happy family that Hedi, her husband Uli and her son Finn have built, soon starts to come crumbling down.
Little jokes and comedic elements are mounted here and there in the film, but at its core the film is led by a serious and tense tone. It touches upon various issues regarding living with psychological disorders or being exposed to them via significant others. It shows how such circumstances can dramatically change a person and a relationship. Meanwhile, the seemingly selfish and irrational behaviours of people with psychological disorders are provided with context in the film.
There are plenty of films with this kind of theme, and in this respect «Lykkelig i 24 timer» does not necessarily lead to new knowledge or give novel insight. However, the film provides a lot of additional aesthetic joys. Laura Tonke and Hans Löw breathe life into the characters of Hedi and Uli and give them colour, whilst the motion pictures are beautifully planned and organised down to the last detail – even at the film’s most depressing moments. The storyline is a pretty ordinary one, but the way it unfolds and the emotional texture embedded within it are not so ordinary, providing the film with extra-ordinariness and turning into a never-boring, colourful and tasty movie. Among the many films that are centred on life with a psychological disorder, «Lykkelig i 24 timer» should be considered a well-made one, with its cheery combination of comedy and tragedy, and its lively depiction of multi-dimensional characters that never tire us or fall flat.