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Western Animation / Charlotte (2021)

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Charlotte: [W]hat matters is not that life loves us, but that we love life. Don't you think that's true?
Alexander: Sure, it's just nicer when it works both ways.

Charlotte is an animated biopic film about the World War II-era German-Jewish painter Charlotte Salomon, inspired by her autobiographical series of paintings Life? Or Theatre?. A Canadian-Belgian-French coproduction, it was directed by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana.

Aspiring German expressionist painter Charlotte Salomon is the daughter of an affluent Berlin family who becomes wary of the increasingly public antisemitism in Nazi Germany. Despite the Salomons being Jewish, her father Albert's prominence and Charlotte's own talent win her a spot in the Academy of Fine Arts, where she hones her craft and romances singing teacher Alfred Wolfsohn.

After the mass pogroms of Kristallnacht in November 1938, Charlotte is sent to live with her grandparents and a wealthy German-American millionaire, where she finds new love in fellow refugee Alexander Nagler. But when she learns some family secrets, Charlotte takes it upon herself to paint her life story, even as France becomes increasingly unsafe for Jews.

The English language version features the voices of Keira Knightley as Charlotte, Eddie Marsan as Albert Salomon, Helen McCrory as Paula Salomon (McCrory's final film performance), Mark Strong as Alfred Wolfsohn, Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn as Charlotte's grandparents, Sophie Okonedo as Ottilie Moore, Sam Claflin as Alexander Nagler and Henry Czerny as Dr. Moridius and Julian Richings as Dr. Kurt Singe. The French language version features the voices of Marion Cotillard as Charlotte, Romain Duris as Alfred, Philippe Catoire as Charlotte's grandfather, Damien Boisseau as Alexander and Bernard Lanneau as Mr. Schmidt.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2021, ahead of theatrical debuts in Canada and France in 2022.

Not to be confused with the anime.


  • Affectionate Nickname: Charlotte is Lotte to her father and stepmother.
  • At the Opera Tonight: Charlotte and her family attend an opera in 1935 Berlin, which is interrupted by members of the Nazi party attempting to drive out Jews in the audience. The brutality of this is contrasted by the high-class setting.
  • Dance of Romance: Alexander and Charlotte share a brief dance at Ottilie's home, which makes their budding romance apparent.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Charlotte learns as a young woman that she was named for her deceased aunt Charlotte, who drowned.
  • Death and the Maiden: Charlotte creates a painting around the Death and the Maiden motif, depicting a beautiful young girl embracing a living skeleton. It was inspired by the death of her mother. She gifts it to Alfred.
    Alfred: It is though she wants something from death. Something only he can provide.
  • Hereditary Suicide: Charlotte's grandmother is suicidal by the time they arrive in Nice, and eventually kills herself by jumping out a window. After this, her grandfather confides in Charlotte that they have a family history of suicide.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: The film ends with a visibly pregnant Charlotte being taken away by Nazis. The epilogue says they both died in Auschwitz.
  • Love Doodles: Charlotte's attraction to Alfred Wolfsohn is first hinted when she is doodling his face in her notebooks after their first meeting.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Charlotte was told that her mother died from influenza. She had actually overdosed on opium on purpose. This and her aunt drowning herself were kept from Charlotte for fear of it affecting her.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film starts with Charlotte sending away her collection Life? or Theatre? fore safekeeping, before flashing back to a scene from her childhood where she attempts to comfort her mother.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Charlotte's school friend Barbara is tall, blonde, and blue-eyed, and is extolled as the picture of beauty by their Nazi-supporting teacher.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title: A Charlotte Salomon biopic titled Charlotte.
  • Public Exposure: Painting a nude subject is done in Charlotte's art classes at her design school.
  • Real-Person Epilogue: The epilogue features footage of Charlotte's climactic masterwork Life? Or Theatre? being discussed by Ottilie Moore and Albert and Paula Salomon, who are characters in the film.
  • Romantic Rain: Charlotte and Alfred go boating on a lake. When a thunderstorm rolls in, the two jump into the lake and kiss in the rain.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Charlotte bids farewell to her father and stepfather by boarding a train and watching them through the window as it pulls out.