The Marriage of Maria Braun

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

After getting married during a bombing raid in Germany in the midst of World War II, Maria and Hermann Braun (Hanna Schygulla & Klaus Löwitsch) are able to spend half a day and a whole night together, before Hermann returns to the front. Maria faces the struggles of life at home during wartime, surviving with her mother and sister, even in spite of news that Hermann may not be returning.
braunThis is a difficult film to discuss without giving away spoilers, because a great deal happens over the course of the story, and a lot is to be appreciated with the twists and turns that the plot takes. It all seems to concern circumstances preventing Maria from being happy in love, and often they take almost ludicrous directions in terms of credulity and coincidence. Then again, what else is to be expected from a marriage that begins with the registrar being forced to sign the marriage certificate whilst scrambling around in the rubble outside of his freshly bombed office?
Schygulla excels as Maria, portraying her with an efficient chilliness, doing what must be done to survive in a world intent on fighting back at every turn. Sometimes the plot gets a little ridiculous, and elsewhere it gets bogged down in melodrama, but it always remains engaging and often surprising in its turns. As an Englishman I also found the perspective of the German homefront during WWII to be an enlightening one, showing a side of history not often broached in this country. The depiction is very well handled, providing insight into the general state of living – men fighting over a discarded cigarette butt – and how the economy devolved after the war, with a bartering system gaining prominence where necessary.
Overall this is an interesting and well-told story about love, ambition and survival unlike any other I’ve seen in the genre.

Choose Film 7/10

2 thoughts on “The Marriage of Maria Braun

  1. Pingback: June 2016 Update | Life Vs Film

  2. Pingback: What Kind Of Year Has It Been? 2016 Edition | Life Vs Film

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.