© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
L to R: Ursula Strauss and
Georg Friedrich in
Directed by Barbara Albert, Austria

Photo Credit: Films Distribution

          Barbara Albert's film FALLING charts the reunion of five childhood friends
  at the funeral of one of their elementary school teachers. There's a cursory
  resemblance to
THE BIG CHILL and that film's antecedent, THE RETURN OF
  THE SECAUCUS 7, but this film is focused solely on females.
          Nina (Nina Proll) is pregnant and unmarried. Brigitte (Birgit Minchmayr)
  is a teacher who hasn't lost her idealism. Alex (Ursula Strauss) is a
  tightly-wound corporate type. Carmen (Kathrin Resetarits) has fled to
  Germany where she has found some success as an actress. Nicole (Gabriela
  Hegedüs), who is accompanied by her wiser-than-her-years daughter Daphne
  (Ina Strnad), is harboring a big secret that only manifests itself in the third act.

        The quintet almost immediately fall back into old patterns of bickering,
  jealousy and intimacy. There's much talk about a house they had envisioned
  in which they would live together. Over the course of about a day, they
  also attend the funeral (and it's later revealed that at least two of them had
  had an affair with the deceased) and later the wedding of Nina's ex-boyfriend.
          Albert is attempting to address important and "heavy" topics, such
  as how we often do not achieve our youthful dreams, and how getting older
  can lead to a loss of idealism (political and romantic). The subject matter
  may seem almost cliché, and Albert doesn't help matters with the manner
  in which she lets the film meander. If it weren't for the fine performances,
FALLING might have proven sleep-inducing.

                                  Rating:        C-