Rock My Heart
3rd German Film Week
"Cautiously and kitsch-free staged mix of sensitive drama and sports film, equipped with a high degree of reality and convincing, great harmonizing actors." - Björn Schneider, speilfilm.de
Jana (16) has a heart defect that could end her life at any moment. Furious at her fate, she rebels against her illness and her despairing parents. She also rejects a new treatment for fear of the side effects. When she meets the reclusive racing trainer Paul (75) and the seemingly wild stallion 'Rock My Heart', it becomes clear that she is the only one who can work with the highly sensitive animal. Paul convinces her to enter a prize race with Rock, training her to be a jockey. Although at her physical limits, Jana hides her illness from Paul. Not even her parents know of her plans. Even when her illness seems to strike her down, she doesn't let go of her dreams. She knows it takes courage to race, but it takes even more to say yes to life again.
Source: German Films Service & Marketing GmbH
film reviewTwo unlikely characters — a teenage girl with a congenital heart condition and an old man who used to be a horseracing star — meet in this feel-good, family drama that celebrates life amid adversity and misfortune. Seventeen-year-old Jana just wants to live her life away from doctors and hospitals, rebelling against her parents’ understandable insistence on her medications and surgeries. She becomes fascinated with Rock My Heart (or Rock, as she calls him), a stallion owned by Paul, a trainer living on a ranch nearby who is in fear of losing his house and property to the bank. Like Jana, Rock is rebellious and stubborn, but only she seems to calm and connect with him. A friendship develops between Jana and Paul, and as she grows interest in Rock, Paul trains her to ride him. An upcoming race with a huge cash prize becomes a goal and an inspiration for both of them, for Paul to help him keep Rock and his property as well as gain back his lost honour and self-confidence, and for Jana to prove to herself that she is more than her illness, that no one can stop her from fulfilling her dreams.
Rock My Heart delivers the heart-tugging schmaltz and inspiring Chicken Soup moments that one expects from a family drama which along the way also dovetails to become a coming-of-age story championing courage and individuality. It brims with optimism, the narrative carefully orchestrated to target an audience who does not assume things will go dark or awry, like those Hallmark TV specials that play on the weekends. It is a harmless, beautiful story, but also trite and forgettable because it does not try to do anything new. As typical of films like this, however, there is an obvious disregard for class issues, how it is taken for granted that happy endings that Jana’s story has are only possible because she comes from a family that is financially able, because she has loving parents and a nice boyfriend to support her. The mainstream hardly dwells on such things, preferring the luminous to the gritty, and as far as luminous moments are concerned, Rock My Heart surely has plenty.
- Richard Bolisay
Richard Bolisay is a writer and film critic based in Manila. His essays on cinema have appeared in various publications online and in print. He is a participant of the Berlinale Talent Press and Locarno Critics Academy, and has been part of the jury of, among others, the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
Follow him on Twitter @richardbolisay.
German title: Rock my heart - mein wildes Herz
Director: Hanno Olderdissen
Genre: Teen/Family entertainment
Duration: 110 mins
SM Aura Premier:
Nov 8 - 7:00pm
SM City North EDSA:
Nov 7 - 7:00pm
St. Louis University - Baguio
Nov 22 - 5:00pm
University of San Carlos - Cebu City
Liceo de Cagayan University - Cagayan de Oro
Dec 6 - 9:30am