Coconut Hero

Germany submitted this charming comedy for its North American Premiere at the 2016 Seattle international Film Festival. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was in English with no captions! The German director wanted to make a comedy but he told our SIFF audience that Germans only like gloomy stories, so he made it American.

Director Florian Cossen, working from a script by Elena von Saucken and Daniel Schaechter, has assembled a talented cast that tells a clich├ęd coming-of-age comedy about a suicidal teenage boy. Of course his clumsy suicide attempts fail; of course he's bullied; of course he's misunderstood. But what you should know is this: He's depicted by a terrific young actor who should enjoy a long fruitful career in movies. You can SEE his muted delight when doctors discover a potentially fatal brain tumor!

Our cast:
  • Alex Ozerov - Mike Tyson (his name causes bullying) is a student in a Nowheresville high school, where he is unable to focus. All he can think about are ways to kill himself. He finally agrees to go to therapy simply to stay out of a juvenile home for mental patients. His father is in Germany.
  • Bea Santos - Miranda runs an exercise class where Mike is sent. He helps her remove the lug nuts from her pickup when she has a flat. He asks her, "Have you ever tried to steal lumber on a bike?"
  • Krista Bridges - Cynthia Tyson is Mike's single mom, working two jobs and unable to unwind. She's impatient, overworked and arbitrary. Just the ticket for a teenage son, huh?
  • Sebastian Schipper - Frank Burger turns up because he sees Mike's obituary in the paper (sent in error, it seems). He comes from a nearby town to console Mike's mother.
The word "coconut" appears twice but I can't figure out why it's in the title. Oh well. By the way: This seems predictable, until suddenly it is NOT! That's all I'll say...