Returning to the place she grew up in the Austria countryside to visit her ailing father, Sonja, a successful actress, finds herself greeted with an underlying hostility from her sister. Sonja is viewed by her sister as having complete freedom to live life the way she wants, but underneath Sonja's exterior lies sadness from an individual who feels like she is playing a role, not even capable of knowing her true self anymore. Gotz Spielmann's Oktober November is a pensive family drama that reveals itself slowly and with subtlety, being a film that examines the relationships that exist between life, death, and family. Through these characters, Oktober November encapsulates how all of us are truly just floating through life, never capable of digesting all of its joys and pains, and though we may not make all the right decisions, most of us are simply doing our best. Through this type of idealism, Gotz Spielmann has crafted a film that has very poignant characterizations, my favorite being the sister, a woman who has been taking care of her father her whole life, never leaving their childhood home and resenting her sister because of it. She views her father as a burden to her freedom, but what makes her character so interesting is how she suffers guilt from having such thoughts when her father is clearly dying. The film does a lot of fascinating things as a family drama, drawing enticing parallels between these two sisters and their mother with nuance, in a way that lets just say captures genetics on an emotional level. Featuring a narrative with a few surprises and well written moments of introspection, Oktober November captures how through death, two sisters are able to reconnect, bond, and realize how they are both similar, though they may be suffering from unique problems. Being far more about life than death, Gotz Spielmann's Oktober November truly captures how death is merely a bittersweet aspect of life, delivering profound moments throughout,particularly in how it explores the constant strain which can exist between individuality and family.
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