By Madyson McGill
I took a chance and watched my first ever German film. Yes, it has subtitles, but I had never tried to sit through a subtitled movie in a theater. I tried once in Italy, but they wouldn’t let us in. However, The Best of All Worlds ended up being the best film I saw all weekend at Heartland. The symbolism is spot-on and metaphoric. It adds to the true life experience of this seven-year-old boy. The film really captures a glimpse into the boy’s mind, which isn’t surprising when you take into account that the film was written and directed by Adrian Goiginger, the boy himself.
It’s a story about his life growing up with an addict for a mother in the underground drug scene of Salzburg, Austria. His mother, Helga, is torn between her addiction and her love for her son, and she tries to protect him from the negative effects as much as he can. It’s evident she tries her hardest to put her son first be the best mother she can be. Throughout the movie she tries to prove to the child protective services that she doesn’t have a problem and can in fact take care of her son.
Another key part of the film is Adrian’s dream to be an adventurer. He creates this elaborate tale about his ancestor and a monster who needs to be destroyed with a fire arrowhead. This becomes a prominent parallel between Adrian’s reality and imagination. This is done beautifully throughout the film. The scenes seamlessly change between reality and fantasy, moving the story along smoothly. As Adrian’s tale comes closer to an end, so does Helga’s battle with addiction, which in Adrian’s mind is represented by a demon.
Everything comes crashing down in a crescendo when Adrian accidentally drinks some of his mother’s “magic potion,” which he’s told not to touch throughout the film, and attacks the demon. However, it is also in this moment when everything comes into perspective for Helga.
Jeremy Miliker, who portrays Adrian, is amazing in the movie for such a young actor. His chemistry with Verena Altenberger, who plays Helga, makes for a great portrayal of a mother-son relationship. This is due to their performances as well as the writing in the script. It’s a battle of good versus evil. It’s the story of a boy who reaches his dream, grows up in a unfortunate situation, but still has the best of both worlds.
I would give The Best of All Worlds a solid 5 out of 5. It is a masterpiece in storytelling and I was blown away by the performances. Don’t let the foreign language scare you away and make you choose an English-language one instead. As I’ve found out, sometimes the ones that seem foreign turn out to be the better experience.