Synopsis by Mark Deming
A pair of teenage rebels become lovers before being forced to confront adult responsibilities in this German drama. Joe (Jana Pallaske) is a 15-year-old girl who has grown tired of rows with her mother (Sabine Berg), whose depressive mood swings are fueled by drugs and alcohol. Joe decides to run away from home, and while out on the street with nowhere to go on a rainy night, she runs into Engel (Robert Stadlober), a 17-year-old boy who is a self-styled anarchist with dreams of setting up a collective community in the mountains. Engel takes Joe under his wing and she quickly falls for him, diving headfirst into his lifestyle of partying all night and getting by on his wits. However, Engel's former girlfriend, Asi (Nadja Bobyleva), still seems interested in reclaiming his affections, and Joe's jealousy leads to a breakup; to spite Engel, Joe begins sleeping with Alex (Mirko Lang), but when she learns that Engel has landed in jail, she makes up with him after he's released. Not long after Engel is back on the streets, Joe discovers she's pregnant, and while she's not certain if Engel or Alex is the father, Engel is eager to do the right thing and help support the baby. Unfortunately, his resolve to live the straight life proves short-lived, and Engel soon ends up back behind bars. When he's released, Engel discovers that Joe has set up housekeeping with Alex and her new baby, and Engel finds she's no longer interested in sharing his dream of setting up an anarchist compound. Engel & Joe was based on a true story recounted in a magazine piece by journalist Kai Hermann, whose writings were the basis of another memorable film about German teens living outside society, Christiane F.