Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 8, 2011
    88
    Young Goethe in Love wants only to engage an audience with a capital-R Romantic ideal of Goethe's first love. It does so very well. And it was well worth the effort.
  2. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Nov 2, 2011
    80
    Stölzl's film falls gently between the stools of high-brow camp and genuine seduction by its many period charms, fine actors and lovely landscapes.
  3. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Feb 17, 2012
    75
    Stölzl blends romance and melancholy in fine style.
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 7, 2011
    75
    A delight on its own terms, even if it has little to do with the real Goethe; here is a randy young man not a million miles apart from Tom Jones.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Nov 17, 2011
    75
    So the situation is fraught, without being clear-cut; in other words, interesting.
  6. Reviewed by: Boyd van Hoeij
    Nov 1, 2011
    70
    As its English-language title indicates, Philipp Stoelzl's yarn is clearly modeled on "Shakespeare in Love." But though it lacks that film's delirious wordplay, this German cousin is well plotted and impressively mounted.
  7. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 8, 2011
    63
    There are big, jaunty gusts of music, and there are big, jaunty gusts of acting: the Heath Ledger-esque Alexander Fehling pumps up his Johann Wolfgang von Goethe with brash, boyish verve and stormy emoting.
  8. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Dec 8, 2011
    60
    If you can tolerate the overbearing music (think John Williams at his most manipulative), this is relatively painless, thanks to a lighthearted tone and some energetic lead performances.
  9. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Nov 2, 2011
    58
    Whatever its basis in fact, there's nothing to Young Goethe In Love's story that dozens of other films haven't done before, and better. But Fehling keeps his Goethe just on the right side of obnoxious, and Stein invests a lot of character and gawky charm into what easily could have been just "the girl."
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jan 19, 2012
    50
    What it is is watchable, a thoroughly professional piece of Great Man hackwork that lacks the invention and spirit of its obvious model, "Shakespeare in Love.''
  11. Reviewed by: Kevin Thomas
    Nov 6, 2011
    50
    Instead of underplaying the story's escalating tempestuousness it pushes it over the top; time and again the film begins to catch fire only to be doused in silliness.
  12. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Nov 4, 2011
    50
    Young Goethe looks great, and the cast is appealing. But the story is riddled with clichés and fabrications.
  13. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Nov 3, 2011
    50
    Mr. Fehling, tumbling from puppy dog eagerness into weepy, inky self-pity, never quite rises to the requirements of the role, which may be hopelessly incoherent in any case.
  14. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Nov 3, 2011
    50
    Doesn't the reigning genius of the German language deserve his own "Shakespeare in Love"? Sure. But as Goethe scampers about Leipzig, comically failing his doctoral exam, spilling his books and looking bemused, young Johann might as well be auditioning for his own Disney Channel program.
  15. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Nov 1, 2011
    50
    And yet for all of its obtuse choices, there's still something commendable, if daffy, about trying to turn the high holy father of German literature into a rock star.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 6, 2011
    42
    Turns one of the greatest geniuses of German literature into a love-struck rapscallion.
  17. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Nov 1, 2011
    40
    Cool, it's a rom-com featuring the man who'd influence Romanticism.
  18. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Oct 30, 2011
    38
    What unfolds is a predictably anguished story of true love thwarted by material circumstances, or in the terms dictated by the film, rationality triumphing over romance.

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