Saw this at the Berlinale 2019, where it was part of the official Competition. The Jury awarded a Silver Bear for Best Director (Angela Schaneler). Not my idea, as this movie was a WTF experience for me. I did not walk out as something happened all the time and I was hoping for a desperately needed binding conclusion where it was all about, alas to no avail. The synopsis was promising, but the story actually went nowhere.
The threesome animals (donkey, dog and hare) we see in the beginning, suggesting life on and around a farm, returned in the end, without having any connection (as far as I could see) with what happened in the rest of the movie. No clue whether it is relevant or not.
All of the core story is located in Berlin, far away from the country side. I also noticed, especially in the first quarter, a lot of semi-still scenes, like a cartoon where someone says something significant, after which the scene jumps to a subsequent scene with a new meaningful sentence spoken.
There are a few longer scenes, all centering around the mother. Among others, we see her buying a second-hand bike, having a long monologue towards a stage director she meets at the supermarket, delivering unsolicited advice towards the teachers at Philip's school, returning the bike to its previous owner due to some malfunctions (wasting a lot of running time), and much more such scenes without any obvious useful purpose.
Peculiarly, contrary to the gist of the announcement on the Berlinale website, not Philip was apparently the center of the story but rather his mother with her unpredictable behavior. She seems to hide a lot of rage underneath, bursting out at random moments, like when her daughter has used the stove to prepare something to eat, followed by a heated discussion and even throwing both her children out, who can do nothing else than wait on the street until she cools down. This is not motherly behavior in any way, though her children embrace her even after being pushed away, so I assume this sort of scenes happened more often before.
One reviewer wrote that there was boe-ing ànd applause at the end of this movie's premiere yesterday. I'm glad that I'm not alone in loosing track of this movie and its theme (if any). It is also interesting to see that professional critics score very differently (average 7) from "normal" viewers like myself (average 4.4). I don't know what to write about this movie, other than the above. It is very difficult to write a consistent discourse about this movie.