Rumspringa (2022) review: Gratifying story about self-discovery

Rumspringa is a German movie about an Amish boy Jacob, who goes to Berlin for his Rumspringa. He is forced to make some difficult decisions for himself, all while searching for the right path. The film is currently streaming on Netflix. 

Story 

Jacob (Jonas Holdenrieder) is ready for his Rumspringa, but things do not seem to be moving in his favor as he loses his luggage as soon as he reaches Berlin.

Lost in a new city, with no way to contact his family, Jacob has no hope. But things start changing for the better when he sees a man with a beard and a hat; a standard attire amongst Amish men. 

He approaches that guy, hoping that he’ll be able to help Jacob, but the man rudely declines. He is Alf (Timur Bartels), a German man. Alf feels guilty when Jacob gets in a car accident and takes him home. 

This is the start of a new journey and a beautiful relationship. The two face their own problems while trying to find the right path for themselves. 

Performances

All the actors are perfect for their roles and have visible chemistry between them. Jonas Holdenrieder wonderfully plays the kindhearted but oblivious to modern world, Amish boy. His outbreak with Alf is very out of line for his character, but Holdenrieder manages to maintain its essence. 

Timur Bartels plays the character of Alfa troubled teenager who is afraid of failure and unsure about his future. Bartel is the ideal choice for this role. He not only manages to play the role college boy who loves to party and is hypersexual but also shows his vulnerable and emotional moments with admirable delicacy. 

Holdenrieder and Bartel share extraordinary on-screen chemistry. The tension between their characters can be felt through the screen.

Tijan Marei plays the role of Freja. She perfectly represents a pseudo-feminist who rejects all theories of intersectionality and watches empowerment through the lens of social media. Also known as ‘girlboss feminist’ in pop culture. Despite Marie’s adequate acting, the character felt flat and comes off as annoying at times. 

Gizem Emre’s character is another exemplary representation in the movie. She plays the role of a soft yet strongly opinionated woman and comes off as a powerful character. 

Positives

The movie beautifully captures the journey of self-discovery and finding the right path. Most of the characters are very well written and offer relatability to the audience in some way, making the film more heartfelt. 

It also explores the emotional side of male friendship without giving away to toxic bro culture and falling into traps of queerbaiting. It is refreshing to watch 2 male leads form an emotional bond with each and openly express their opinions. 

The scenes of Alf and Jacob relying on each other and offering mental support are very well done and incredibly heart-touching to watch. The background music adds depth to scenes, making them more powerful.

While it is tasteless to comment on the accuracy of the representation of Amish culture while not being part of the culture, one can surely appreciate the fact that the filmmakers did not try to exoticize it. 

It is interesting to witness how strongly culture and location influence the value of a person but how often one has to subject them to change to fit in the modern world. Jacob is seen regretful for using simple tools like roller skates or zippers and engaging in vanity but is seen adapting to the new environment as he finds his true self, all while carrying his Amish essence. 

Negatives 

The relationship between Freja and Alf feels very flat, and their chemistry often fell for the old-school cliches. While this could be defended with the idea that it was necessary to show Alf’s insecurities and bring a representation of white feminists with Freja, it does not make their scenes any less annoying and difficult to watch. 

Verdict

Rumspringa is a refreshing watch about self-discovery and acceptance. It is a heartfelt movie that explores a new genre of friendship between two males bought up in two different cultures and the emotional bond they form. It breaks a lot of stereotypes and is a must-watch.

Rating: 4/5


Also Read: Rumspringa (2022) summary and ending explained