The Miracle Of Bern

The Miracle Of Bern


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

After so much talk of football widows, here comes a story of how the World Cup brings a family together. It is heartwarming and sentimental, as you would expect. The best sports movies mess with your emotions.

West Germany in 1954 is still suffering from the aftermath of war. The economic miracle has yet to weave its magic. Matthias (Louis Klamroth) lives with his mother (Johanna Gastdork), older brother (Mirko Lang) and sister (Birthe Wolter) in the region of the Rhur. His father (Peter Lohmeyer) was taken prisoner by the Russians and no one knows whether he is alive, or dead.

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Matthias is soccer crazy and the star of his local team (Sascha Gopel) is picked to play for GDR in the forthcoming World Cup in Switzerland. At the same time, he learns that his father, whom he has never seen, is coming home.

These stories run concurrently, the return of the father and the fortunes of the German squad. Another subplot is added, concerning a nervous young sports reporter (Lukas Gregorowicz) from Munich, who is sent to Bern to cover the finals at a time when he should be taking his new wife (Katharina Wackernagel) on their honeymoon.

The father becomes antagonistic towards his family, unable to come to terms with life outside the camp. He didn't even know that Matthias existed and when he stepped off the train, after more than 10 years as a POW, he mistook his daughter for his wife.

Meanwhile, GDR lose their first match in the qualifying rounds, which only punctures their confidance even further. The team coach (Peter Franke) has to work hard at restoring a sense of pride.

The film has a perfect period look and, as a story of rejuvenation, both on the pitch and in the home, is uplifting. It remains a captured moment in the life of a young boy and a defeated nation, with flashes of inspiration.

Reviewed on: 16 Jul 2004
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The Miracle Of Bern packshot
The World Cup, 1954, for the West German team, coincides with the return of a PoW from Russia.
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David Haviland **

Director: Sonke Wortmann

Writer: Rochus Hahn, Sonke Wortmann

Starring: Louis Klamroth, Peter Lohmeyer, Johanna Gastdork, Mirko Lang, Birthe Wolter, Katharina Wackernagel, Lukas Gregorowicz, Peter Franke, Sascha Gopel

Year: 2003

Runtime: 118 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Germany


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