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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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I came across the super comedy a number of years ago when I was staying in Germany. I have a number of friends from Rostock Eastern Germany and as a lecturer in International Relations in the USA, have talked endlessly about life in the former Warsaw Pact countries with Czech, Polish and German friends. This film looks at the collapse of the GDR from one family's perspective in a way that mirrors what I was told happened by my friends.

The plot is simple but intriguing. It begins in the closing days of the GDR. The narrative is given by Alexander (Daniel Bruhl), who is an unhappy young man living in a claustrophobic system, which he feels is oppressing him. He lives with his mother, a devout communist since her husband fled to the West and sister in a small communist flat in East Berlin. Alexander is involved in a demonstration and gets arrested in front of his mother. The shock of his arrest brings on a heart attack which leaves her in a comma for a number of months. Whilst the mother is in the comma the GDR collapses, the wall comes down, western goods and eventually money flood into the East, the sister finds a West German boyfriend, the family flat gets a western make over and many peoples lives change. When the mother awakens, the doctors are afraid a shock may kill her, so being a devout communist and fearing finding out there is no GDR any more, Alexander decides to keep what has happened secret from his mother, with hysterical consequences.

Whilst the film is humorous it is also quite a sad and reflective film. It shows that not everything changed for the best and all things western had their personal and societal costs. The tension between East and West Germans, which I felt when I lived in Wurzburg in 1990 and Luneburg in 1992, comes across brilliantly. The characterisations used in the film are all sublime. The cost to East German society is left wide open so all can see in terms of, unemployment, alcoholism and the consequences for the family of an escapee to the West. I actually use this film in my USA International Relations classes, to show students that not everything was bad behind the Iron Curtain and that there was a severe societal cost to the wall coming down and the westernisation process.

I think this film is sublime representation on life in an Eastern Bloc country and how the country changed due to westernisation. It is a comedy but it also shows the negative side to all the changes that happened in 1989 and 1990. I think this is the best German comedy I have seen in many years. My version had great English subtitles.

Highly recommended.
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on 21 June 2017
If you know a bit about East Germany.. that is a must.... Good story. Good actors..
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on 14 June 2017
A sweet, funny film with real feelings behind the ridiculous premise, definitely worth a watch
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on 10 August 2017
An excellent film. Very enjoyable.
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on 3 August 2017
Don't fall into the trap of thinking the Germans have no sense of humour!!
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on 24 March 2016
Very sweet film, humorous & poignant.
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on 18 April 2017
Highly Entertaining
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on 13 June 2016
Very clever film depicting the collapse of the berlin wall and human dynamics of it
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on 18 May 2010
I came accross Goodbye Lenin! rather bizzarely because the music in the film was by the fabulous musician, Yann Tiersen, who most famously soundtracked the french film 'Amelie' in 1997. I have been a fan of Yann's music for years now, and so, knowing the work of Yann Tiersen and knowing that the man never works on bad films, i curiously investigated and thus came accross this gem of a film.
The film ostensibly is about Alex Kerner, his sister Ariane and their mother Christiane, who is a staunch socialist in East Germany. Whilst Alex is on a peaceful march one night in the late 1980s to protest the prescence of the Berlin Wall, Christiane catches him and subsequently has a heart attack which sends her into a coma. Christiane misses on all the major events that took place whilst she is in a coma - including, rather obviously, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism. On the event of her waking up several months later, Alex is told that any shock might kill her, and so starts Alex's mission to maintain and recreate the old East Germany within the confines of the family's little flat, protecting his mother from the shock of discovering the collapse of her beloved socialism and everything she previously knew.
The film is in esscence a comedy and much of the comedy in this film comes from Alex trying to, for example, get his hands on products that were sold pre-capitalism, and thus we see Alex running around, looking for products such as Mocha-Fix Gold(coffee),and pickles which are simply no longer sold - all in the name of maintaining the facade. The 'news reports' which Alex creates with his movie-producing friend are very funny indeed, and there are some laugh-out-loud moments to be had in this film :) The film is however also very European, and specifically very German, and therefore gives some very interesting insights into what Berlin was like after the wall came down. There is a fascinating sequence where Alex, who is narrating the film, is looking for a flat, and explains in the voice-over that after the wall came down, people in the East moved to the west and never returned, leaving huge amounts of property in Berlin simply abandoned, free to be claimed by whoever moved in first! This was something that I had never realised, despite knowing my history.
The cast are stellar in this film - particularly Katrin Sass, a notable actress from East Germany, who plays Christiane, and Daniel Bruhl who plays Alex.
This film is charming, clever, warm and uplifting, and frequently very, very funny :) It should be seen by as many people as possible! And Yann Tiersens soundtrack adds enormously to the film too, adding atmosphere and emotion. xxxxx
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on 15 February 2006
simply one of the greatest films.very feel good but not in a stupid way.the acting is great and all the characters are perfect. its the kinda film where you wouldn't mind if it went on for ages. plus an absolutely unbeatable soundtrack by Yann Tiersen (did soundtrack for Amelie) just sets the mood for a seriousely enjoyable film....*****!!!!
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