There’s diversity in this unsubtle drama that plays out as artifice in a look at marginalized Germans during World War II. Like so many that have played out in movies which have involved the Holocaust.
Where Hands Touch comes from English helmswoman Amma Asante who excelled in chronicles of the biracial and interracial from the sleeper Belle to A United Kingdom but there is something stolid and timeworn even with an interesting perspective from its lead character Lenya (Amandla Stenberg of The Hunger Games and Everything, Everything).
She’s the daughter of an Aryan mother (Australian actress and rapper Abbie Cornish of Geostorm and Stop-Loss) and Senegalese father, living with the latter and her brother in mostly pleasant conditions in Rhineland. Yet, outside of those confines her appearance puts her in the throes of a dominant Nazis society. Life for this young woman becomes more confining, but she becomes smitten with the son (George MacKay of Pride) of eminent SS officer Lutz (Christopher Eccleston of 28 Days Later and Thor: The Dark World) in a homeland that increasingly looks at this ‘German’ teenager like a pariah while it simmers factiously in conflict.
From an initial James Baldwin line about societal functionality, the cruelness and confusion surrounding Lenya leads her to question her identity, not to mention where she belongs, and whom to trust. Stenberg demonstrates a certifiable mien as an actress on the rise with Asante the scribe having her face formidable conditions. Dynamism, though, is in short supply in the much of the staging and the storytelling in a cut-rate gloss puffed up for the medium. A disconcerting construct includes the of Americans, Australians and British occupying the primary roles which mostly cannot supersede the general hoariness complete with maternal admonition.
What should have been more divertingly dramatic in execution at last does have distressing, absorbing information as Where Hands Touch in an epilogue with those like Lenya on screen that might indicate that a non-fiction project might have been the wiser and more fulfilling path to have explored.