In our unforgiving era of cynicism and finger-pointing, [Rosa von Praunheim’s perhaps] most subversive trait is a refusal to pass judgment. Tough Love is a semi-dramatized bio-docu about karate champ, pimp and ex-con Andreas Marquardt, a bundle of damaged goods if ever there was one, and yet von Praunheim, with his inelegant shifts, camp sensibilities, and overall good nature, extends a hand of sympathy.
The pic shifts between recently shot color footage and black-and-white re-creations, opening with Marquardt today, age 58, talking about the origins of his brutal nature, starting with a father so abusive he tried to kill his infant son and later crushed his fingers. His mother began stimulating him sexually when he was 6, and by the time he was 12 they were having full intercourse.
The script completely sidelines Marquardt’s karate activities […], focusing instead on his gut-deep misogyny (…).
Jay Weissberg, Variety