"Follow Your Star"
VITUS tells the story of a young musical prodigy of the same name who excels at the piano. The movie focuses on his early years as Vitus develops his skill and must deal with those who want to take advantage of his abilities, including his overbearing but well-intentioned mother.
At first, Vitus takes pride in his musical talent. As he gets older and finds it difficult to fit in with the other kids, Vitus just wishes to be normal. Reality hits him hard when his father begins having financial problems, causing tension at home. The boy’s only refuge is his grandfather, the one person in whom he fully confides. When his grandfather begins having problems of his own, Vitus decides to take matters into his own hands.
VITUS is very well directed. Director Fredi M. Murer convincingly portrays Vitus as a boy who is far more intuitive than most adults, yet we never forget that Vitus is still just a boy. The movie starts out in a stride and never stops, each scene propelling the movie exponentially forward.
The cast is exceptional. The chemistry between Teo Gheorghiu and Bruno Ganz, who play Vitus and his grandfather, respectively, is particularly excellent. The duo has a number of very touching scenes and is the highlight of the movie. Gheorghiu does very well in his role as Vitus and, interestingly enough, is a musical prodigy himself. There is no cutting away; we see young Gheorghiu playing the piano each and every time. The filmmakers must have had quite a task of finding an actor who could both act and play such complicated pieces of music.
Running around two hours, VITUS does not feel either rushed or overly long. It is solidly written, with a great blend of drama and some genuinely funny moments to ease the tension. The reviewers went in with average expectations and left with those expectations far exceeded.
At first, some viewers may be turned away because of the subtitles, but don’t let that discourage you. Soon into the film, you will forget you are reading subtitles.
This is not a movie for everyone, as it is obviously not an edge-of-your-seat action thriller that mass audiences will want to see. As well, this film is not appropriate for younger viewers. Not only may the story bore children, it has mild language, a brief lighthearted mention of the sex drive, and two cases of underage drinking. It also has a Romantic worldview encouraging Vitus to follow his heart, to the point of fooling his parents. Thus, parents should know that Vitus is a rebellious child who sometimes disrespects his parents and teachers and takes pride in doing so. However, Vitus is sympathetic and merely gets carried away because of a combined brilliance, a flair for using logic and wit to bust fallacies, and a naïve nature. Also, some moral elements extolling love, selflessness and family help to make VITUS a powerful, charming and sublime experience.
Director Fredi Murer has struck gold with VITUS. Filled with drama, wit, and joy from beginning to end, it presents a very human, exhilarating perspective of love, loss, family affection, and following your dreams.
(RoRo, H, BB, L, V, S, AA, M) Romantic worldview in which boy is encouraged to follow his heart and that inspiration comes from within, light humanist elements in which intelligence comes from “cold rationality” with no direct mention of or reference to God, but with some strong moral elements, such as boy values love and denounces premarital sex and grandfather mentions his amazement over the strong marital love expressed by his grandson’s parents, which he sees as a positive, archetypal pattern for all couples; seven obscenities and two light profanities, mostly spoken by the father; rebellious child throws books at his mother and locks her out of the house, potential scare that boy will injure finger while sawing wood but no harm comes to him, it is implied that boy with artificial wings jumps off balcony and gets a concussion but later revealed that he faked it all, implied that grandfather falls from roof; sexual intercourse and libido are briefly mentioned (not in a salacious way) between two young people in an amusing manner at the dinner table, but no sexual activity shown or implied; no nudity; two instances of underage drinking in which boy and a friend celebrate with champagne, no explicit drunkenness but one case of implied hangover; no smoking or drug use; and, lying, grandfather breaks into a hangar to fly his plane, intelligent child often disrespects teachers and parents in public, father uses listening device to spy on babysitter, and boy uses listening device to spy on parents and various house guests, boy takes pride in being rebellious, boy uses false identity to earn millions in the stock market but he does it with unselfish intentions to help his grandfather, and boy feeling pressure from mother to play piano fakes losing his talent.
VITUS is a unique comedy from Switzerland about a young musical prodigy. From a very early age, Vitus exhibits incredible ability to play the piano. Everyone believes he will become a master musician, and his well-intentioned mother puts incredible pressure on him to succeed. Vitus wants to be normal and fit in with his peers. With problems at school and at home, young Vitus seeks refuge at his grandfather’s house. Things take a turn for the worst as his grandfather begins having problems of his own, and Vitus must intervene to help his family.
VITUS is high quality movie filled with drama, wit, and joy from beginning to end. However, this movie is not for children. It has mild foul language and a brief sexual discussion, though nothing explicit. It also has a Romantic worldview encouraging Vitus to follow his heart, to the point of fooling his parents. Some moral elements extolling love, selflessness and family, however, help to make VITUS a charming experience of love, loss, and family affection. VITUS is one of the best-made movies in the last few years, but MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution for pre-teenagers.