From the opening scene, In The Aisles announces the gentle, whimsical way in which the next 125 minutes will proceed. To the soundtrack of the Blue Danube waltz, forklifts sweep graciously between the aisles of a quiet supermarket. This is where the film will spend much of its time, examining relationships, loneliness, and forklift conflict between store sections.

In The Aisles is centred around newbie Christian (a puppy-eyed, monosyllabic Franz Rogowski), and his relationships with his co-workers Bruno (Peter Kurth), and Marion (Sandra Hüller) who he watches with heart-melting devotion as she stocks the sweets aisle. Like a German In The Mood For Love, the film follows a difficult forbidden romance that is aesthetically beautiful to watch.

The use of sound is also a very strong point, heightening what Christian hears around him, in real life and in his imagination. When he looks at Marion, everything is faded out and replaced by the sound of the sea; his feelings become translated through sound, instead of the rare dialogue he delivers.

As sweet and surprisingly amusing as it is despite its low-key tone, In The Aisles is not without problems. Christian’s lack of speech lends ambiguity to much of the story, and in an attempt to fill in the gaps, the second half is filled with slightly heavy-handed scenes. In The Aisles would be stronger if it left the audience with a few more questions.

Had its ambiguity just been pushed that little bit further, the slightly overlong 125 minutes would’ve felt like time was flying. But overall, In The Aisles is a quietly charming romantic comedy that manages to stay sweet despite some of the darker material it presents. Go for the melancholic charm, stay for the forklift jokes.



CAST: Franz Rogowski, Sandra Hüller, Peter Kurth

DIRECTOR: Thomas Stuber

WRITERS: Clemens Meyer, Thomas Stuber

SYNOPSIS: Christian begins to work as a shelf stacker at a supermarket and finds himself in a new, unknown world: the long aisles, the bustle at the checkouts, the forklifts.