Together/Spolu (2022)

Together/Spolu (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Together/Spolu (2022)
Director: David Laňka, Martin Müller
Cast: Martina Babisova, Kamila Janovicová, and Václav Kopta
Genres: Comedy/Drama
Release date: 29 September 2022
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10
Language: Czech
Duration: 1h 57m


Together/Spolu (2022)


The roar of a powerful engine carries through the air and a bloated BMW rushes down the road. The air smells of high-octane gasoline. In a corner, the eight-cylinder skids left streaks of burnt tires behind. The driver brilliantly chooses the next sharp and rushes to the finish line. But only in the imagination of a little boy with a mental disorder that trapped him forever in the body of an adult man.. This is how the movie Spolu begins, and from the very first scene, it is clear that the film awards will be aimed here.

Director Martin Müller made his debut a few years ago with a bold authorial attempt, Listen, where together with David Laňka they tried to breathe a little new life into Czech relationship girls with the help of a horror plot. It didn’t quite work out, however, their new film Spolu brings the director and screenwriter duo back into the game and promises a completely different experience this time. They stayed with the investigation of interpersonal relationships, but instead of a thriller, they delved into the soul of ordinary people living with an extraordinary handicap in the form of a mental disorder. We are following the fate of a widowed mother who sacrificed her whole life for her son Michal, afflicted with an unspecified mental disorder. The consequence of the long-term daily care for him was that she never had enough time for her daughter Tereza. But right now she is going through an unexpected life crisis and would welcome a little motherly love.

It was already clear from the trailer that the main focus will be on Michal because he is the one who represents the center of family life. His disability makes him a difficult-to-manage little boy in the body of an adult man, which leads to a continuous sequence of larger or smaller clashes with reality (for all of them, let’s name the unruly salesman played by Václav Kopta). Štěpán Kozub is absolutely convincing in the role of Michal, and his grimaces, gestures, and manner of expression evoke the necessary mixture of sympathy and pity for the poor boy who can make life hell for his loved ones without being to blame. He simply cannot be normal, which is the cornerstone of the whole story, but also of the constantly presented social overlap.

Only rarely does Kozub show a greater understanding of the surrounding world than one would expect from his character, but Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump did not avoid this either. Müller and Laňka gradually ask the right questions and aptly point out that the biggest problem in our lives is the fact that we simply cannot change some things. We are in the grip of events whose course we can influence very little, and yet (or perhaps precisely because of this) we long for the world to become “normal” and for us to live “normally” in it. However, a mental disorder is something that cannot be easily fixed. It’s a lifelong disability that you have to learn to live with.

Veronika Žilková plays a caring mother with such ease as if it were her daily routine. You can feel her immense fatigue, but also her absolute determination to give Michal all her love and care, even at the cost of her self-sacrifice. Kamila Janovičová as Michal’s self-centered sister represents the catalyst of the events, as her behavior gradually reveals the tragic fates the family has had behind them. While the situation around Michal is gradually escalating, answers to both spoken and unspoken questions are being sought both by the protagonists and the audience. Unfortunately, as time goes on, it turns out that the weakest link of the promisingly sketched minimalist drama is the script. Again. Maybe the theatrical design is to blame, maybe the author’s effort to simplify as much as possible (i.e. bringing the story closer to “ordinary people” who have no idea

Terez’s attempt to resolve the situation surrounding Michal is presented in such an unnecessarily amateurish and completely unrealistic manner that it spoils the overall period impression of the first-class acting performances of Kozub and Žilková. Thanks to this, the entire culmination of the family crisis completely misses the expected (and necessary) emotional charge and raises, at best, slightly raised eyebrows. It’s a terrible shame, because otherwise the whole plot could have worked as a real purge and, together with a minor plot twist, could have brought to the audience what the trailers promised. That is a strong drama with strong characters. Nevertheless, even so, Spolu is the strongest Czech act this year, even though it is mainly thanks to the captivating acting performances.

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