Film: Aimée & Jaguar

Based on a true story, German historical drama Aimée & Jaguar (1999) is an engaging wartime romance. During World War II, Felice Schragenheim (Maria Schrader), a Jew living under a false identity, is part of an underground resistance group. Her group’s primary focus is keeping itself alive, but her commitment faces complications when she develops a instant attraction to Lilly Wust (Juliane Köhler), the gorgeous, conventional wife of a German soldier. The two women develop an intense, fraught relationship that, forbidden on multiple fronts, threatens them both with tragic consequences.

Aimée & Jaguar is an accomplished romantic story that adds appealing doses of powerful wartime drama, history, and espionage. Probably more groundbreaking when it was made than it feels today, it goes in mostly expected directions but is quite touching and authentic. Schrader and Köhler possess the crucial chemistry needed to make the core relationship work, and the supporting cast include fine performances from Johanna Wokalek, Detlev Buck, Heike Makatsch, and Elisabeth Degen, among others. A nicely produced, effective film.

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