Published Sep 19, 2018There's a famous, likely misattributed Eleanor Roosevelt quote that claims, "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." If that's true, the protagonists of 303 must be geniuses. This low-key road movie belongs to the Before Sunrise school of romance: put two attractive strangers together in a foreign land and let them talk. And talk. And talk.
Jule (Mala Emde) and Jan (Anton Spieker) are both 24-year-old university students living in Berlin, and they each find themselves with a free summer after a setback in their studies. Jule is taking her retro camper van to Portugal to tell her boyfriend Alex that that she's pregnant, while Jan is on his way to Spain to meet his birth father for the first time. Their paths cross when Jan is hitchhiking and scores a lift from Jule in a parking lot. As far as meet-cutes go, "Hey could you maybe give me a ride?" isn't the best opening line, but it gets the job done.
What begins as a carpool to Cologne turns into a cross-continental bonding experience with loads of will-they-won't-they tension. They philosophize a whole lot about sex, relationships and human nature, and even though their distinctly heteronormative discussions about the differences between men and women sometimes feel as out of touch as an episode of Friends, their naïve musings are charmingly idealistic.
At two hours in length, director Corynn Egreczky paces 303 very patiently. (I thought German highways were supposed to be fast?) But even though there's nothing even remotely resembling action, the characters' chemistry is engaging, and the shots of old European towns are gorgeous to look at. Much like Jan when he hops into Jule's RV, it's best to just sit back and enjoy the ride. (Kahuuna Films)