Wrinkle-free in the first: she works on her inner beauty

For once, a complete restoration from head to toe: Stella Martin is fiercely determined to confront physical decay with all her might. What else is left for a w

Wrinkle-free in the first: she works on her inner beauty

For once, a complete restoration from head to toe: Stella Martin is fiercely determined to confront physical decay with all her might. What else is left for a woman if she is banished from the book covers of her own self-optimization guides for reasons of wrinkling and the husband (Thomas Limpinsel) is flirting with a younger one? She is now lying on the operating table, the beauty doyenne embodied by Adele Neuhauser, with so many blue marks for the incision on her face and on her body that even the cosmetic surgeon she trusts (Manuel Rubey) is no longer quite happy with the matter. In his diabolical beauty paradise, however, every woman has as many wishes as she can pay for. He's already pulling out the scalpel – and everything is getting out of hand enormously.

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Stella staggers out of the clinic dazed with a nose bandage over a monstrously disfigured tine. But the visual mishap is not even the biggest problem of the surface-fixated egocentric with braggart villa: since a cyclist has run her over, she hears voices. More precisely, the thoughts of those around you.

The thoughts of the others

With one leg "Above the sky of Berlin" and with the other in a lay play by "Cyrano de Bergerac", Stella lives through her own purifying pre-hell. What her daughter Johanna (Olga von Luckwald), brushed on antimaternal riots, who, as a nurse, encounters the infirmities of mortals in a completely different way than her wife Mama, the "queen bee", has to say, is already hard enough. What buzzes through the head of the assistant in the beauty clinic or the passer-by in the park is even more unpleasant, because unfiltered. There is little comfort in the fact that there seems to be complete silence in the upstairs room of Stella's eldest daughter Fiona (Henriette Richter-Röhl), for whom her mother is "an ideal".

Uli Brée as a screenwriter, who has already written several episodes for the Viennese "Tatort" with Adele Neuhauser in the role of the four-faced investigator Bibi Fellner and provided the script for the fair of the vanities of the "suburban women", takes the beauty madness of our days in his television comedy "Wrinkle-free" in a highly amusing way. He not only puts the protagonist in his mouth or unspoken behind his forehead with punchy dialogues, but also lets Stella's closest people, in inserted short monologues, repeatedly speak a verdict about the heroine directly into the camera: as a woman who had a hard grip on herself and her business from books and a cosmetics line managed by her husband with scrap creams, until reality and the image all too obviously fell apart.

The important relationships in life had already fallen by the wayside. "If you always talk to concrete, then not so much moves," says Johanna. "She has inspired so many people," Fiona sighs and kneads a duster, visually as if peeled from an egg. Of course, Stella's husband has long since made his way out of the dust, without a word.

Heroine in an ideal cast

The director Dirk Kummer stages the absurdity as ravishing fun around Adele Neuhauser as an ideal cast, who lustily, but without cruelty, unmasks the lucrative madness: first create dissatisfaction, so that you can then exploit it profitably. Only those who undermine self-confidence can make a cut, in both the literal and figurative sense. The joke is always in the details: Stella's bestseller has the full-bodied title "I came into the world to explain it to you", from the cover of which the camera (Mathias Neumann) swings directly over to the unvarnished version of the heroine, who, accompanied by the sounds of the Queen song "Love of my life", is kicking the non-existent fat pads off the ribs on the exercise bike. Aesthetic surgery is lovingly endowed with its aseptic-pastel awfulness, the ruler of which, with Stella's support, is making a promotional film surrounded by half-naked extras. Of course, sexual rejuvenation is offered at the same time.

Adele Neuhauser's Stella, perfectly styled, experiencing the collapse of her authority, only by chance or rather accident stumbles into the opposite world far away from such a dazzling work. The emergency doctor Betty (Sibylle Canonica), who is about the same age, takes her to a cozy home with an unspoiled daughter, where you drink red wine, laugh and enjoy life – which, although meant seriously, is the most merciless stereotype in the film. In general: why do only women feel aesthetically deficient in "wrinkle-free"? It is much more convincing when Stella dives with Betty, two graces in luminous swimsuits underwater, in the glow of the neon light of a nocturnal indoor pool, weightless. With such stylistic devices, Kummer creates a balance between the lurid parody and a warm seriousness that makes the film so soothing. Watching Adele Neuhauser at her performance is pure pleasure anyway.

Updated Date: 18 November 2021, 00:01

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