The ‘I Love You City’ series of movies started off with such a bang with the first film ‘Paris I Live You’ in 2006 but has been a rather major disappointment ever since This latest, and the 4th in the franchise, is based in Berlin and as usual boasts an impressive line up of talent in front and behind the camera but that alone is not enough to stop this 2 hour movie being so uneven and rather ragged around the edges.
It is in part a travelogue to show off contemporary Berlin but some of the short films in this compilation could have been shot anywhere. Like the embarrassing and rather awkward hotel bar pick up scene that has a surprising turn of events for Jim (Mickey Rourke).
One of two best episodes by far is with Keira Knightly who plays a worker in a refugee camp and who takes home a young Middle Eastern boy. This greatly upsets her mother (Helen Mirren) who would prefer her daughter to be living a more conventional life and married with children. The presence of the boy in their home makes both of them reevaluate their own relationship in a city which is changing to face the demands of the day.
The second story is one of four women in a Berlin Laundromat who have a #MeToo moment when they bond together to embarrass a film director who has been accused of sexual assault
Although it could have been filmed anywhere, there is also a touching story of a 16 year old boy hanging around on his birthday waiting for his father to pick him up, when he encounters a drag queen( Diego Luna) dressed to the nines and he asks to be kissed for the very first time.
In the other shorts, Jim Sturgess plays a photographer whose discovery of the people of the city brings him back from a brink; Luke Wilson a visiting American businessman gets smitten with a puppet theater performer in the park ; and street performers Sara (Rafaëlle Cohen) falls for Damiel (Robert Stadlober) complete with angels wings.
However collectively all the vignettes fail to paint anything like a clear picture of what the city is really like. This may be a love letter to Berlin, but the city may never even realise it.