Sugarbaby | Chicago Reader


A glum, overweight woman (Marianne Sagebrecht) who works in a Munich mortuary finds her life illuminated one day when she catches a glimpse of a handsome young subway conductor (Eisi Gulp); she knows he's the Zuckerbaby of her dreams, and she sets out to catch him, studying the subway schedule, planning elaborate ruses, and finally luring him to her apartment, where he falls madly in love with her (1985). Director Percy Adlon (Celeste) deftly avoids the traps built into the material: the film is neither sticky and cultish nor grotesque and exploitative. The script ideas, which might seem familiar in outline, are pushed so far that they emerge in the pure, clear, mythic realm that lies on the other side of cliche, and the playfully abstract visual style that Adlon has adopted (lots of color filters, low camera angles, and wacky, unmotivated camera movements) gives it the allure of a real-life animated cartoon. A charming surprise, concocted with dignity and affection.

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