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Spoiler alert! Angst informs art in Young Goethe in Love, a romantic biopic about the Sorrows of Young Werther author before he became recognized as a literary wunderkind. In 1772, Johann Goethe (Alexander Fehling) was 23, and failed his Ph.D defense because he’d placed his focus not on the study of law but the writing of poetry. Just as he’s sure he’s going to be published and doesn’t need daddy’s help, he gets a rejection—and is sent by his father to the country to work in a law office. There, he not only excels but meets the gorgeous and sassy Lotte (Miriam Stein), quickly falling in love. Alas, it’s not to be, as his wealthy boss also has eyes for her—while Lotte’s struggling dad has eyes for his purse strings. Powdered wigs and centuries-old formalities don’t distract from this classic love story, with Fehling and Stein turning in fun, lively performances that leave you rooting for these kids. Their inevitable heartbreak is ours, too—Fehling is especially affecting—but as we all know, sometimes good can come of sorrow. Bonus for Kolja Brandt’s lovely cinematography, which is warm in the countryside and more dirtily urban when the action moves to Frankfurt.
At 6:30 p.m. at Avalon Theatre; also on Wednesday, April 13 at 8:45 p.m. at AMC Mazza Gallerie.