Real Berlin Love Stories

By Serita Braxton

Film and TV production seems to be just as obsessed with the city of Berlin as we are. Major films including Atomic Blonde, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Mute and TV shows Berlin Station, Counterpart, the binge worthy Dogs of Berlin and countless others are all filmed with the backdrop of well known sites of Berlin. 

Recently a trailer for the film Berlin, I Love You dropped and to the confusion of anyone who has ever actually been to Berlin the trailer seemed a little off base. 

It starts with voiceover of, “People come to Berlin…to fall in love.” I’m not sure who these “people” are but the rest of us come to Berlin for work, university or because we’re over our old lives. The ensemble film with several running story lines also features predominantly English and American actors. (Well, maybe that part is very Berlin.)

When I first arrived in Berlin I recall several people telling me (without me having to ask), “If you’re looking to fall in love, you moved to the wrong city.” At first I thought they were just a couple of pessimists but two and a half years later I have to admit…they were right. 

While there are the rare tales of someone moving to Berlin and falling in love along the way, it’s not a major attraction of the city. (If you’ve ever been on a dating app or even tried to get someone to make eye contact with you in a bar then you know what I mean.) For the singles that I talk to the dating options are not what they love about living in Berlin. (In some cases it may be the reason they want to leave.)

The trailer for Berlin, I Love You is giving viewers false romantic hope. So, I’m recommending movies with dating scenarios you’re way more likely to have in Berlin. 

Through these three films, also filmed in Berlin, I’ll give you the true insight into what it’s like to fall in love in Berlin:

Victoria 

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Plot: Main character, Victoria relocates to Berlin from Spain but hasn’t experienced the city to its fullest, insert a hot guy that knows his way around… 

Dating scenario: You’re an expat who came to Berlin to become a musician or get your startup off the ground. After a few months your cafe job is taking all of your time and you end up neglecting your talents.

Three guys stumble into your cafe while you’re closing up and you decide to follow them to the closest techno club. After hours of drinking and dancing you start to fancy one of them just before he brings you in on their plans to rob a bank. 

Truth: Okay, so it may be unlikely that you’ll meet someone and begin committing crimes together but you will end up on a date with someone you think is great catch until they turn out to be toxic once you get to know them. 

Liebe Mich! (Love Me!)  

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Plot: Sarah, a young woman who still lives at home – and is a bit of mess – wants to live the fast and free life in Berlin but deep down she really just wants a guy to love her. 

Dating scenario: In the process of getting broken up with you hurl your laptop out of the window. Trying to salvage your computer you head into a repair shop where you’re greeted by a nice young repair man. Sparks aren’t necessarily flying but you convince him to come home with you. No, not in THAT way…

He awkwardly joins you and your roommates for morning coffee, you start spending more and more time together and after a few days you ask him to move in together because you’re tired of the WG life.

Truth: Sometimes we settle on dating someone simply because we’re tired of being single. Don’t do it! It’s always better to work on yourself and become happy riding solo until you find someone you truly like. 

Berlin Syndrome 

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Plot: Clare, an adventurous and free spirited woman, newly arrived in Berlin from Australia, meets a guy and things are going well until she realizes he won’t let her leave. 

Dating scenario: You meet a cute guy by chance on your way out of an overpriced cafe and eventually the two of you end up back at his place. Even though his entire building is empty except for his flat you’ll probably think to yourself, “His rent must be really cheap, I wonder if he found this on WG-gesucht.”

After a mildly satisfying hookup session you’ll hang out at his place the next day because you’re freelance – which essentially means your unemployed. When you go to leave his place you realize he has trapped you inside. 

Truth: Sure, a guy may not trap you in his flat but things can still get weird when you go to his house for the first time. It’s quite a popular first date suggestion to invite someone over or go to their house but that means leaving a bad date can get awkward. Just make sure you let your friends know exactly where you’re going and get out of there if you ever feel uncomfortable!

While I hope you have better luck at love than the main characters in these films, they all give you a better look at dating in Berlin than the fairytale that Berlin, I Love You is trying to sell. 

All of these are available to watch on Netflix. Grab your popcorn – whether you like it sweet or salty – and get ready to lower your expectations about falling in love in Berlin. 

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