Fear Of Fear

Fear Of Fear

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 8th July 1975

Distributed by: Criterion Collection

Production compaines: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)


Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Peter Märthesheimer

Starring: as Margot, as Kurt, ihr Mann, as Mutter, as Lore, as Karli, as Herr Bauer, Adrian Hoven as Dr. Merck, as Edda, as Mrs. Schall, as Dr. Auer, as Dr. Rozenbaum, Alfred Edel as Patient (uncredited)

Fear Of Fear Review

Would that I'd seen Fear of Fear before The Hours. Margot's (Margit Carstensen) story (at least at first) maps almost directly with Laura Brown's (Julianne Moore) from the latter film.

Here, pregnant Margot becomes convinced she's going insane when, a few weeks before her second child is born, she starts to develop a fear so overwhelming that her vision starts to freak out: blurring and wavering like she's looking across hot asphalt. We see the film largely through her eyes and can't help but feel the same way. As Margot seeks help for her problem, she turns to Valium, alcohol, and sex with the pharmacist. Her cold husband offers little help in any of this.

The story gets muddied by another creepy fellow who seems to follow Margot around everwhere she goes. Margot's condition doesn't really worsen, but nothing seems to help. Eventually the made-for-TV reality of the film comes forth ("She's drinking during the day!"), and if the frequent fade-out/fade-ins (where the commercials used to be) don't start to annoy you, the all-too-familiar histrionics of those old suburban dramas probably will.

When it's all over, Fear largely overcomes these obstacles, thankfully. The end result is a story about a woman vs. herself, at odds with the world, just like in Fassbinder's other works, but internalized to a degree not seen in his litany of work. The film recalls The Merchant of Four Seasons to some degree, bleak and hopeless, leaving the viewer with the unsinkable impression that there's no way this story could have turned out with a happy ending.

Aka Angst vor der Angst.