How About Adolf? (2019), a social satire and breakout hit by director Sönke Wortmann, pops corked secrets and confessions at a dinner party. Caroline Peters plays Elizabeth, a mother, wife, and schoolteacher, who hosts her brother and flamboyant best friend for dinner, aided mediocrely by her academic husband, Stephan (Cristoph Maria Herbst).
When Thomas (Florian David Fitz) reveals the name planned for his unborn son, all hell breaks loose. What starts as a friendly dinner party twists and turns unexpectedly, each character scorched and left for a moment defenceless. Strung together by comedy, long-held interpersonal and historical tensions tighten and loosen like a neurotic professor’s grip on a stress ball, until a final screaming volley ends the night.
Through a number of taboos—at the centre of which lies the question of whether a German child can be called Adolf—Wortmann explores forbidden love, selfish parenting, and the limits of a joke. How About Adolf? examines these ideas artfully with quality acting that is credible and powerfully realistic.
Ninety-one minutes watching a dinner party might sound intolerable, but buoyant direction and clever dialogue with uproarious banter ensure that the audience clings very much to every word.
4 out of 5 stars