Dare to Dream
Coming to UK digital cinemas this December, Martin Schreier’s German drama Dare to Dream is a Cold War romance set against a colourful backdrop. Young Emil (Dennis Mojen), having stumbled into a role as an extra, is instantly smitten with Milou (Emilia Schüle), an unappreciated but talented French dancer, when their paths cross in East Germany in 1961. Cliché is shamelessly embraced in their first encounter. The protagonist wastes no time in his pursuit after his doe-eyed glance is met with a middle finger; the French performer immediately proves to be more than just her pretty face. However, the building of the Berlin Wall brutally interrupts their blossoming relationship before she must return to Paris. Milou’s pining lover, brokenhearted and a tad reckless, concocts an extreme plan to get her back, creating a playful spin on a textbook tragic love story.
With scenes reminiscent of La La Land at times, Dare to Dream achieves gleaming theatricality, enhanced by the narrative’s entertaining effect of a film-within-a-film. These elements – amidst austere geopolitical tension – glisten as heart-warming reminders of the passionate livelihoods that remained in the arts despite the sufferings of the depicted era. Dennis Mojen is a modern-day DiCaprio in looks but leaves a lot to be desired with his emotionally stunted and generally benign approach to winning the heart of his romantic interest. Where he and his pitiful naivety go, disaster follows, which is at the very least charming to watch but becomes uninteresting. Though the feature contains little character development elsewhere, Milou carries much of a plot that in places dips in strength, with vibrancy and gutsy intuition.
Emil’s drastic plan unfolds to be the most enjoyable part of the movie. With elephants, eccentric actor types and a sulky teenager impersonating a formidable film director, there is plenty of wit and silliness to keep the pace rolling. Though the central relationship itself falls short of originality, stunning cinematic effects accompanied by equally remarkable music elevate many scenes to quite impressive grandeur. Dare to Dream – while admittedly idealistic and packed with cheesiness – appeals to light-hearted viewing rather than a love story that tugs at the heartstrings. However, it doesn’t claim to be anything else and offers everything one would want from a pleasant spin on Hollywood romance. The feature does what it set out to do very well, and if one is searching for a healthy dose of cliché, you’ll find an abundance of it here.
Dare to Dream is released digitally on demand on 14th December 2020.
Watch the trailer for Dare to Dream here: