I remember watching Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ as a teenager. At the time, the character arc of its young protagonist resonated with me on a deeper level. As I have grown older, I can connect far more with his parents, who were also on their journeys of growth and character development. “A Million Minutes” (Original title: Eine Million Minuten) feels quite similar in that regard. It is also about a couple that goes through their own journey of growth as the kids do. The film is full of well-meaning, sunny optimism that feels rare these days.

Based on a true story, “Eine Million Minuten” follows Vera (Karoline Herfurth) and Wolf Küper (Tom Schilling), a young married couple with two children – Nina and Simon. Wolf works at the UN as a passionate voice to save the Earth from an utter collapse. Vera, on the other hand, stays home taking care of their kids, abandoning her hopes of having a career in eco-centric architecture. With all the parenting burden falling on her shoulders, she grows even more frustrated.

Wolf neglects most matters beyond his professional ambitions. So, it starts affecting their relationship. Around this time, he and Vera learn about Nina’s motor disorder diagnosis with no clear solution at hand. For her to have a healthy childhood, they need to help Nina explore and understand the world. So, to prove his commitment to the family, Wolf decides to take a leap of faith. On a whim, he plans to start working remotely and travel around the world. To afford the expensive trip, he suggests selling all their inessential belongings. Vera is taken aback by his sudden decision, and she agrees.

Once they leave their home country, Germany, they start facing multiple issues. From poor internet networks to sudden climate change, they face all the predictable conflicts. Wolf and Vera’s earlier arguments resurface since Wolf still cannot balance between his familial and professional responsibilities. He either misses his meetings or misses the chance to witness their kids’ formative years. His time gets divided into worrying about the future of his family and that of the planet.

A Million Minutes (Eine Million Minuten, 2024)
A still from “A Million Minutes” (Eine Million Minuten, 2024)

Throughout the film, there’s an underlying discussion about gender politics somewhat similar to Ruben Ostlund’s “Force Majeure.” “Eine Million Minuten” doesn’t take the form of a biting satire but of casual discussions that affect their relationship. When back home, he behaves according to the traditional gender norms. His behavior is partially a result of his father’s orthodox expectations of a successful son. Only after moving out of the country did he start realizing his flaws.

With their newfound realizations, the parents mature and learn to accept their reality while going through some rough patches. Even though it is a family drama, “Eine Million Minuten” operates in the vein of inspirational, life-affirming dramas like “Into the Wild.” Its premise also rests upon the desire to uproot the usual way of living and explore life by the beat. So, it feels warm, fuzzy, and inspiring. Surprisingly, it sustains its feel-goodness throughout its runtime.

Inspired by a true story, the film is made with an earnest intent. Its coming-of-age arcs feel emotionally earned despite the obviousness of some of its conflicts. However, you can’t help but wonder whether such a no-back-up-plan life is possible for those without a privilege as theirs, without jobs to go back to whenever they please, without financially stable parents, or without having the skin color that is widely accepted everywhere across the globe.

Besides, some of the film’s needle-drop moments feel incredibly embarrassing since they literally say what a character is feeling. ‘Way Down We Go’ starts playing right when a character is feeling down in his life and literally goes down, i.e., underwater! They feel too on-the-nose and hackneyed. At times, it starts feeling like a compilation of Instagram reels with uplifting music that promotes the messages of ‘Live, laugh, love.’ Regardless, “Eine Million Minuten” is an endearing drama that shows a family growing up as a unit.

Read More: 10 Great Drama Movies of World Cinema

A Million Minutes (Eine Million Minuten, 2024) Movie Links: IMDb, MUBI, Letterboxd
The Cast of A Million Minutes (Eine Million Minuten, 2024) Movie: Karoline Herfurth, Tom Schilling, Ulrike Kriener, Hasan Akkouch, Pola Frierichs, Palina Georgsdottir, Sara Fuchs, Godehard Giese, Jonmundur Gretarsson, Tommi Thor Gudmundsson, Joachim Król,
A Million Minutes (Eine Million Minuten, 2024) Movie Genre: Drama | Runtime: 2h 3m
Where to watch A Million Minutes

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