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The first handful of scenes in Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven might seem like the setup for a feel-good family comedy. Horny old widower Ali (Tunzel Kurtis), living in Germany, hires Turkish-born prostitute Yeter (Nursel Köse) to be his live-in caretaker and sexual companion. Ali’s son Nejat (Baki Davrak) initially disapproves of his old man’s decision but learns to appreciate Yeter after he realizes that she has a heart of gold. Surely, some life lessons about acceptance and forgiveness will be learned and all will end well, right? Not so much in Akin’s world, where almost all of the film’s characters eventually find themselves either imprisoned, dealing with loss, or dead. Akin’s slow pacing and focus on character lend the film’s more dramatic moments an emotional weight that the film’s opening scenes only hint at. The end result is a stirring, if bleak, look at the complexities behind interpersonal relationships—and the ways in which they can end in an instant.