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Love and resistance.
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'The Exception is a 2016 romantic war drama directed by David Leveaux about the remaining years of deposed German Kaiser Wilhelm II.

A German soldier tries to determine if the Dutch resistance has planted a spy to infiltrate the home of Kaiser Wilhelm in Holland during the onset of World War II, but falls for a young Jewish Dutch woman during his investigation.


This movie contains the following tropes:

  • Abdicate the Throne: In 1918, after Germany was forced to surrender in World War I, Wilhelm II abdicated the throne and fled into exile in Holland.
  • Ban on Politics: Before being introduced to the former Kaiser, Captain Brandt is told by Sigurd ground rules about how to conduct himself, including to avoid discussion of politics.
  • Blue Blood: Colonel Sigurd von Ilsemann, Wilhelm's personnel assistant.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Wilhelm receives news that is might be Emperor again. He and his wife agrees to keep to themselves...only for both of them to tell their personal assistants...
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  • The Captain: Stefan Brandt
  • Crapsack World: Brandt's father died before he was born in World War I, the Great Depression rendered his mother's money worthless and she died when Brandt was 12. He serves Hitler. Oh and he has to choose between love and duty.
  • Deception Noncompliance: Brandt must go with a SS deception that Hitler will allow Wilhelm to return to the throne. It's all a ruse to weed out monarchists in the Reich.
  • The Dragon: Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
  • The Emperor: Wilhelm II was the Emperor (Kaiser) of the German Empire from 1888-1918 until the shame of the defeat of World War I caused him to abdicate and flee to Holland.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Wilhelm has a short temper, understandable after more than twenty years of being blamed for Germany's previous misfortunes that weren't entirely his fault and having a crippled left arm his whole life. His adjutant Sigfurd and his wife are worried that Wilhelm's temper exploding at Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, will get him killed. They know this because Hitler had the former German chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and his wife killed in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934.
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  • I Choose to Stay: Brandt reveals that Mieke's spy contact has been revealed, yet she stays in her determination to kill Himmler.
  • Living MacGuffin: Wilhelm's exile is the center of the story.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Subverted. Brandt is caught between his affections for Mieke and his duty to his country.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Wilhelm's wife and staff are hopeful that Hitler or someone in the Nazi government in Berlin will bring about the restoration of the monarchy and give Wilhelm his throne back and actively collaborate with the German military/SS.
  • Offered the Crown: Twice. Wilhelm is offered his throne back by both Himmler (though this is a ruse to weed out monarchists) and by UK's Churchill.
  • Ransacked Room: The Germans search the entire house the day before Hitler's SS chief Heinrich Himmler comes.
  • Regal Ruff: Wilhelm might no longer be Emperor, but he still carries dresses the part (obvious from his closet supply), especially in front of guests and his Wehrmacht bodyguards.
  • Riches to Rags: Wilhelm II was once a powerful emperor of Germany but now is living in shamed exile. He still has money and uniforms (so less rags), but he is but a shadow of his former glory.
  • Rightful King Returns: Wilhelm hopes that Hitler will restore the monarchy and give him his throne back.
  • Ruling Family Massacre: Wilhelm mentions to Mieke that his cousin Ella, his first love, and her Imperial Russian family were murdered by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War.
  • Secret Police: The Schutzstaffel (aka SS) are Nazi Germany's secret police.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Wilhelm has spent the last 20 years living in exile in Holland. The arrival of the German Army gives him hope.
  • Still the Leader: Wilhelm reminds his wife that he makes the decision of the Huis Doorn household.
    Wilhelm: I may not rule in Germany, but, by Christ, I rule in my own house!
  • There Is a God!: "Perhaps God hasn't forgotten me, after all."
  • Title Drop: "They are the rule. You are The Exception."
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!:
    Sigfurd: Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht von Preussen and his wife, Princess Hermine Reuss von Greiz.
  • What's Up, King Dude?: Wilhelm is very friendly to Mieke, Captain Brandt and anyone who will listen.
  • When Harry Met Svetlana: Mieke is a widowed Jew spying on behalf of the UK and Captain Brandt is a German officer.
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