I was a little unsure as to what to make of the beginning of Westler. The first several minutes are shot in Los Angeles and almost led me to believe that I was watching the wrong movie! However, once the plot moved to Berlin in the early 1980's the story took off and the movie turned into both a sweet romance between two love-struck men from either side of the East/West divide and a sad indictment of the way in which the former East German state stifled the lives of its citizens.
The movie is fascinating from an historical point of view alone but the love story holds up well.
The story revolves around a young West Berliner, on a sightseeing trip with his curious American friend, having a chance meeting with a likeable East Berliner and the two instantly falling in love. The movie expertly highlights the problems associated with love across the divide in that time.
The music is dated and the film footage shot in East Berlin and Prague decidedly grainy (due to it being shot without attracting the attention of the authorities there). But both of these only add to the historical element of Westler and serve to reinforce the fact that this was life in a different time.