Helga meets a man and becomes pregnant. Her father is opposed to her having an abortion and the young man wants to marry her. She doesn't want to get married or have the child, but finds no way of defending herself. Her own needs are viewed as "irrelevant". Yet again responsibility is viewed as something only relevant for others.
Helga becomes rebellious only when shortly after the birth of her first child; she finds that she is pregnant again. The responsibility, which her father once had for her is transferred directly to her husband. Whereas her father's dominance would eventually have come to a natural end, her husband's control looks set to last her whole life. Helga resigns herself to her fate a third time.
But her suppressed and neglected needs gradually take their toll: physically Helga is with her family and gradually falls prey to illness: as a result of a compulsive cleaning obsession she becomes an invalid. Helga is only 22 years old.
The film ends at this point and forces the audience to consider the importance of not sublimating one's own needs in the interest of responsibility for others. Helga's plight is not of her own doing. But there is also no one person in the film who is at fault.
02: This tender and loving film doesn't look for excuses. It rather calls for understanding and empathy.
03: Ula Stöckl depicts this shocking example of false upbringing and unfortunate environmental factors in a mixture of short scenes and wide shots, which are more complex and developed, without the result ever being hectic or over-dramatic. She illustrates how human habits can become ends in themselves. And how things taken for granted can have an unhealthy habit of talking over and can eventually destroy life and all joie de vivre.
Volker Baer, Der Tagesspiegel, 17.06.1978
04: Ula Stöckl has told this tale of the destruction of youth with her very own feeling for emotionless family situations. What is striking is the complete absence of anger: no one is aggressive, not to mention hateful. The father is loving - but admonishes his sensitive daughter in such a dry and Victorian manner, that she quietly learns very early that she must suppress her own needs. The mother in law is sensible and warm-hearted, the husband tolerant - and yet we understand the complete absence of feeling which the young woman experiences. A film full of dreams.
Ponkie, MÜnchner Abendzeitung, 11.10.1978