Editors' pick

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms movie poster
MPAA rating: NR
Genre: Romance, Drama, Foreign
When Trudi learns that her husband is going to die, she conceals it from him and instead encourages him to see more of life. They travel to Japan to visit their son and see a cherry blossom festival at Mount Fuji.
Starring: Elmar Wepper, Hannelore Elsner, Nadja Uhl, Birgit Minichmayr
Director: Doris Dorrie
Running time: 2:07

Editorial Review

Just when you think "Cherry Blossoms," by German writer-director Doris Doerrie, is about to sink under the weight of its own whimsy and artsiness, it floats -- not unlike the delicate white-pink blooms of its title. The story of an elderly provincial German couple's ill-fated journey to visit their adult children in Berlin, the film travels from Germany's bucolic countryside to Berlin's forbidding grayscape, eventually to the neon jungle of Tokyo and finally to Mount Fuji in a gorgeous, sharply limned travelogue of transience and the rituals of grief.

Hannelore Elsner plays Trudi, who as "Cherry Blossoms" opens discovers that her husband, Rudi (Elmar Wepper), is terminally ill. She decides not to tell him, instead urging him to take a sudden, unwelcome trip to see the couple's busy, self-absorbed children. When fate intervenes midway through, however, "Cherry Blossoms" moves in unexpected directions, taking viewers on a journey of discovery and acceptance that, albeit often painfully contrived, resonates with gentle, deeply humanist lyricism.

With its dazzling palette, dominated by the extravagant pinks of cherry-blossom season once the story moves to Japan, "Cherry Blossoms" succeeds mostly at the hands of cinematographer Hanno Lentz, whose keen eye for location and detail give the movie much of its verve. Thanks to an accomplished cast, anchored by Elsner and Wepper, and observant filmmakers, very little in "Cherry Blossoms" is lost in translation.

-- Ann Hornaday (Feb. 20, 2009)

Contains brief nudity and brief profanity.