An authentic, queer coming-of-age story takes place in the summer streets of Berlin in the award-winning, Cocoon: writer and director Leonie Krippendorff’s second full-length feature. Following a young 14-year-old girl’s metamorphosis as she experiences quintessential Berlin teen life, the film is a tender comment on sexuality, womanhood and growing up in general. The drama, with its strong performances and artistic shots, creates a warm yet slow-burn viewing experience and positions itself as a strong love letter to both the city and its new generation.
The character-led piece centres around Nora (Lena Urzendowsky) who is dragged along continuously as an observer and third wheel to her popular sister’s (Lena Klenke) social circle. The younger sibling soon experiences a distinct change as she falls in love with the carefree and colourful Romy (Jella Haase), who guides her along a route of self-discovery and freedom. Featuring fun scenes of breaking into pools, young love and the complications of heartbreak, Krippendorff’s leisurely script feels incredibly layered and emotionally packed. Cocoon focuses on portraying a realistic journey by prioritising an examination of Berlin’s youthful microcosm and the personal consequences of small, ambiguous interactions over clear tension and conflict.
Although at times a bit slow and on the nose, the movie is truly compelling as it showcases the stark realism and indulgence of adolescence. The intriguing dialogue and performances emulate the style of a documentary, captivating audiences in an otherwise unrushed narrative. Urzendowsky and Haase’s strong onscreen chemistry particularly captures attention and offers a grounded picture of first love. However, that being said, Cocoon’s slow pace and light atmosphere make the movie drag during certain moments. Due to its tendency to linger on artistic shots, there are the occasional overindulgences in cinematography, distracting from the engaging, complex relationships and lessening the feature’s overall impact.
With a genuine ambience that enhances a simple teenage romance into a heartfelt experience, Cocoon is a fitting, contemporary coming-of-age film. The worthwhile watch successfully portrays an unfiltered picture of a young woman coming into her own.
Cocoon is released in select cinemas and on demand on 11th December 2020.
Watch the trailer for Cocoon here: