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Film / Heidi (2015)

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Heidi is a 2015 Swiss-German film directed by Alain Gsponer. It is an adaptation of the seminal Swiss novel Heidi by Johanna Spyri.

After living for several years with her Aunt Dete, young orphan Heidi is brought to live in the Swiss Alps with her elderly grandfather Alpöhi. Despite being known as a grumpy hermit, he soon learns to love Heidi. She quickly makes friends with goatherd Peter, a boy just a little older than her. For the next few years, Heidi grows up happy with her grandfather and Peter, until Dete returns and snatches her away and takes her to Frankfurt. There she has troubles adjusting to city life, but ends up befriending Klara, a young disabled girl.

The cast includes Anuk Steffen as Heidi, Bruno Ganz as Heidi's grandfather Alpöhi, Katharina Schüttler (Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter) as Frau Rottenmeier, Isabelle Ottmann as Klara, Quirin Agrippi as Peter and Anna Schinz as Heidi's aunt Dete.

Heidi provides examples of:

  • Abandon the Disabled: Frau Sesemann accuses her son of using his constant business trips as an excuse to avoid being around his wheelchair-bound daughter Klara.
  • Call of the Wild Blue Yonder: Heidi extends her arms like wings in the film's opening as she's admiring the view on the mountains and sees an eagle flying.
  • Cheerful Child: Heidi, of course. Not Klara here, however.
  • Country Mouse: Heidi, who has to adjust to city life in Frankfurt.
  • The Cutie: The sweet, cute and lovable Heidi, of course.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Non-fatal example: After Heidi returns to the Alps, and Fraulein Rottenmeier gloats about being rid of her, Tinette names one of Klara's kittens "Little Heidi" just to annoy her.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Heidi's austere and grumpy grandfather warms up to her over time.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Fraulein Rottenmeier denies Heidi her dinner after her and Klara's excursion into the city.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Heidi only wears shoes when she absolutely has to.
  • Fish out of Water: Heidi when she is forced to live in Frankfurt. She misses the mountains dearly, and has to adjust to speaking Hochdeutsch (standard German), as the Swiss German (Schwyzerdütsch) she normally speaks isn't understood by everyone there and is implied to sound too "peasant"-ish to those tidy German urbanites.
  • Friendless Background: Klara spends almost all of her time shut indoors, mostly surrounded by adults who are explicitly forbidden from interacting with her in any casual way. Heidi may be her only real friend.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Heidi's grandfather is an old and austere loner who reluctantly accepts to take care of her. Then he starts warming up to her, and he is devastated when her aunt kidnaps her to bring her to Frankfurt a few years later.
  • Jerkass: Aunt Dete, by dumping Heidi on her grandfather's doorstep then fleeing without asking him about his opinion on the matter. Then she comes back at him some time later to take Heidi back, without caring for his opinion and feelings yet again, and ends up kidnapping her. Also she receives money from placing Heidi in the Sesemann house and she doesn't even say goodbye to Heidi after receiving the money.
  • Noble Tongue: The Sessemanns and their servants speak a more formal version of German (Hochdeutsch) than the dialect that Heidi speaks (Schwyzerdütsch).
  • Papa Wolf: Grandpa Wolf here. Heidi's grandfather refuses to let aunt Dete take her away from him, and when Dete insists, he scares her away with the scythe he was using to mow tall grass.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Heidi's parents died when she was a baby and her aunt Dete dumped her on her grandfather's doorstep.
  • Rich Language, Poor Language: Heidi's use of Swiss German makes her stand out in the wealthy Sesemann household, where everyone else speaks standard German.
  • Servile Snarker: Tinette names one of Klara's kittens after Heidi just to troll Fraulein Rottenmeier.
  • Tomboy: Heidi is a very outdoorsy girl, and dresses like a boy sometimes when herding goats in the mountains. This version of Heidi is perhaps the least "girly" ever made, with simpler and dirtier clothes than the clean dresses or skirts she is usually portrayed with in other media (she's an Unkempt Beauty when wearing them nonetheless). The change to dresses when having to live in Frankfurt also underscores Heidi's unhappiness there.
  • Truer to the Text: The original book describes Heidi as having dark, curly hair. In many adaptations, she's been portrayed as a blonde, but here, Anuk Steffen fits the book description to a T.
  • Unkempt Beauty: When in the mountains, Heidi looks beautiful and adorable despite her messy hair and hanging out with goats all day outside.