Where the Hands Touch Movie Review: Controversial Flop or Misunderstood?

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During the Nazi Germany era of WWII, there were 25,000 people of color who were born to French soldiers during the first World War. Many of whom were called the “Rhineland Bastards”.  Their existence and treatment was a little well known part of history. Although it is true that many were not originally marked for extermination, some were subjected to abuses of not being “Aryan” enough. Some were sterilized, and unfortunately, did end up in concentration camps.

The movie “Where Hands Touch”, directed by Amma Asante, takes place in 1944, Rhineland. The main character, 16 year old Leyna, played by Amandla Stenberg, along with her single German mother and white younger brother leave for Berlin in search of a safer and “better” life. Once they arrive in Berlin, the family lives off of false papers, stating Leyna is sterilized and has a job at a factory. The story line gets more problematic when she catches the eye of another teenager in the Hitler youth. Sounds controversial? You’re right, it did become controversial. If it weren’t for the warning at the beginning of the movie being based off true events, I wouldn’t of believed this story to be realistic in the least. Many accusations and claims of the director trying to “romanticize Nazis” broke out during the week of the films’ first release of their trailer. A lot of people weren’t happy with the idea and refused to see the movie, while others decided to give the film a chance.

The movie continues with the Hitler Youth boy named Lutz, played by George MacKay, who falls in love with Leyna. The cliche star crossed lover theme continues when Lutz and Leyna try to survive together and escape Berlin. However, as we can all guess, this comes with heavy consequences. Leyna and Lutz get separated during the war, and the movie very quickly turns into a Romeo and Juliet story, with a sad ending in the middle of a tragic war. Long story short, Assama Asante took a very important, yet forgotten part of history and tried to put it into the spotlight. However, it seemed to turn into a sappy YA-book theme with very sensitive topics, making it very hard for many people to swallow.