Head Full of Honey is a bittersweet tale about a family dealing with their grandfather’s Alzheimer’s disease. After his mother’s death, Nico (Til Schweiger) becomes concerned with the deteriorating mental health of his father (Dieter Hallervorden). Nico encourages his father to move in with his own wife and daughter Tilda (Emma Tiger Schweiger — Til’s real-life daughter). Grandfather and granddaughter develop a strong relationship, and they fill their days with stories and adventures. As her grandfather’s behaviour becomes more erratic and dangerous, Tilda learns that bringing dementia patients to meaningful places from their younger days can sometimes help their memory. So Tilda takes her beloved grandfather on one last adventure — a visit to Venice, where he and his late wife honeymooned — before he is put in a nursing home.
This film is a touching drama that ultimately expresses the uncertainties that a family feel when a member has Alzheimer’s. It’s a heartbreaking account, but also filled with comedic moments — the grandfather is charismatic and loveable even when almost burning the house down. There’s also a fair amount of tenderness here. The grandfather’s attempt to recreate his honeymoon with his late wife, whom he still adores, is romantic, and the relationship he has with his granddaughter is cute to say the least.
Til Schweiger — who many of you will be most familiar with as the tough Nazi-killer from Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) — is right for the role as the sometimes aloof father and son who is trying his best to deal with the demands of his family. He has double duty in this film, acting also as co-director. Along with Lars Gmehling, they do a great job conveying the sadness and humour that sometimes surrounds Alzheimer’s.