It is the summer of 1989. The Wall is shuddering, acid rain is falling and the Lambada is featuring in the top 40. Meanwhile 16-year-old Nena (Abbey Hoes) is entirely caught up in her own adolescence: she races around on a scooter, obstinately opposes her mother, discovers dating and falls in love with a tough baseball player. But her carefree fun does not come entirely without complication. Because her German father (Uwe Ochsenknecht) suffers from MS and spends his days practically immobile at home. Nena feels a strong connection with him, and also partly responsible for him. Despite all the support he gets he does not want to live any longer… a fact that is very hard for Nena to understand and accept at a time when she is grasping every possible new experience and living life to the full.
With her debut movie Nena director Saskia Diesing draws a fascinating and touching double portrait of a teenager. On the one hand, we see the unrestrained Nena allowing her hormones and lust for life free rein. On the other hand, there is the smart, strong character who is questioning her environment with a strong dose of critical, confrontational and ironic mockery, and self-mockery. Hoes and Ochsenknecht portray the prickly father-daughter relationship beautifully. Their natural chemistry makes Nena a painful but also comical drama about a girl’s transition to adulthood under exceptional circumstances. Combined with the strong script, the beautiful outskirts of Groningen, and the exquisite soundtrack, this makes NENA a movie not to be missed!
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