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Barbara (2012)

Nina Hoss , Ronald Zehrfeld , Christian Petzold  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld
  • Directors: Christian Petzold
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: November 12, 2013
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00EO2I6QK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,100 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

East Germany, 1980. Barbara Wolff is a young doctor who has applied for an exit visa from the GDR and, as punishment, has been transferred from her prestigious post in Berlin to a small pediatric hospital in the country. She must weigh her absolute dedication to her patients against a potential escape to the West, and her newfound attraction to a doctor in whom she sees a kindred spirit.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
"Barbara" (2012 release from Germany; 105 min.) brings the story of a female doctor, Barbara (played by Nina Hoss), in a provincial town in East Germany in 1980. It appears Barbara had applied for an exit visa so as to leave the country, and as a result was demoted from a prestigious hospital in Berlin to now work in the country side. Barbara has a lover, some well to-do guy in West Germany who sends her money so as to prepare things for her to escape East Germany illegally. All the while, Barbara gets to know Andre (played by Ronald Zehrfeld), a colleague doctor who also has been sidetracked (but for different reasons we later learn) in the country side. Right away from the very start Andre has a crush on Barbara, and he is trying to charm her non-stop. As all of this is happening, Barbara takes a special interest in Stella, a teenage girl who has escaped from a nearby youth labor camp and suffers from various ailments. To tell you more about the plot would ruin your viewing experience. You'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out. I will say that I did not see the end coming at all, so you are in for a surprise!

Several comments: the movie does a great job depicting life in East Germany in the early 80s. Pay close attention to the scenery in the small town where Barbara is working, and notice how stark everything is. Cars are far and few between, and the living conditions are pretty dull, if not grim. In between we also notice the never-ending political pressure that existed in East Germany, where everyone and anyone could be spying on you on behalf of the Stasi (the East German state security agency).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroism in East Germany April 16, 2013
Not as powerful as "Lives of Others" - but there is in this film an amazing portrayal of heroism on a one to one, human to human level, and of doing what you can do and holding what is truly of value close when times are toughest.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barbara. March 4, 2013
This is a fine - if very understated - piece of film-making.

Barbara Wolf (Nina Hoss) is a city doctor exiled to a provincial hospital in the German Democratic Republic in 1980; closely watched by the secret police and distrustful of her colleagues, she leads an isolated, paranoid existence while planning her escape to Denmark with the help of her wealthy West-German lover.
The film is slow-moving, but infused with a subtle tension; Hoss gives a mesmeric performance as a dedicated professional who is also a vulnerable, sensitive being, persecuted by an intolerable system. Her supervisor, Andre (Ronald Zehrfeld) whom she gradually comes to trust, is more accepting of his situation and is sympathetic towards her, despite his role in monitoring her for the authorities.
The film is dour but compelling; a restrained but thoughtful and intelligent drama, well made, photographed and acted.
The cover blurb suggests it will be of interest to those who liked "The Lives of Others"; yes, but it is a very different film from that, much more personal and complex in my view.
There are no extras on the disc; the film is presented in widescreen, in German language with subtitles in English.

A good solid, restrained and thought-provoking film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The actress that plays Barbara is supreme in her role as I imagine she is in any role she takes on. The actresses intelligence in real life shines through in her acting. She plays a Doctor who is placed is a small town medial clinic as she is being punished for a crime she has committed.
However, there is a palpable feeling in the air that something is amiss in East Germany for she is being watched. She is a very cautious and cool character wary of all that goes on around her.
The film has no music and is shot in mostly tones of grey. The mystery unwinds and you will be deeply involved in the story and what Easr Germany was like in the 1980's.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Clear, reasonable presentation of life in East Germany with little stereotypes about the authoritarian side of the government.
East Germany was a paradox of attempting to be a humane, socialists country that was a captive to the Cold War pressures coming from the USSR. For most people, life was a mixture of more than decent living conditions and a police force that overreached, not unlike South Korea today. The acting is pitch perfect of people finding their way in a confusing world. The subtlety of daily acts of being proper, tolerant, ambitious, protective, strong and cooperative is shown with honesty and special insight. The lessons of these people's challenges apply to our own today where surveliance is everywhere.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home Is Where The Heart Is December 31, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
For Barbara, that's the West. She longs to escape oppressive East Germany, where she is a known malcontent and the object of Stasi surveillance and oppression. A doctor from East Berlin, her punishment inlcudes banishment to the sticks, far away from even East German sophistication. She has a lover from the West who makes secret visits and helps plan her escape. Meanwhile, she becomes involved in the treatment, and lives, of her adolescent patients and slowly becomes drawn to her boss, a fellow doctor tasked with making reports on Barbara to the Stasi. His motives are ambiguous to start with -- he seems sensitive and intelligent, but we, as Barbara, don't know initially to what extent it's an act, or to what extent he supports the regime that Barbara so despises. I can't give away the end, but suffice it to say that it carries a major turn, and that turn makes perfect sense of all that has come before.

The story unfolds at a gradual pace. Some may think it's too slow. To me, it felt natural, and it carried plenty of suspense. Its naturalism is unforced, unaffected, unlike films that convey realism with a nausea-inducing hand-held camera or tediously long shots of nothing much. Here, you disappear into the world of the movie without noticing how the trick is done.

Nina Hoss's performance, like those of others in the film, is beautifully subtle -- so subtle that you become attuned to even the slightest adjustments in her outward attitude. The last shot -- of silent facial expressions -- effortlessly, perfectly conveys volumes, so masterful has been the acting and story-telling.

What a beautiful film, among the best of this past year.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed! CHIC coolest 1978 Soul Group on the planet ...
Enjoyed! CHIC coolest 1978 Soul Group on the planet music at the end nice surprise too!
Published 10 days ago by Lisa J. Murray
4.0 out of 5 stars Barbara shows real life behind the wall.
This film successfully shows the every day oppressiveness of living on the wrong side of the wall, and the courage it takes to do even the smallest thing that goes against the... Read more
Published 24 days ago by lewis sinclair
4.0 out of 5 stars very well done, if at near-molasses speed.
Nice story, very well-acted. Particularly liked the scene where he tells her of the incubator mishap, a tragic story, and she challenges him to identify the particular incubator,... Read more
Published 25 days ago by L. Monstuart
4.0 out of 5 stars Choices
Interesting slice of life in East Germany at that time (1980). Glad I didn't live there then!
Published 29 days ago by Susan Sardina
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Memories
The tone of the film and its images remind me of what the DDR was really like. Traveling to Berlin from Frankfurt in the 1960s, I entered a world at the border that had no... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eiche
1.0 out of 5 stars would not play
Since I've had playback issues on three of my last Amazon movies, it's time to move on. Wish me better luck with Netflix
Published 2 months ago by fred
3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth seeing
A look at life behind the iron curtain, when speaking the truth meant seeing the end of your career or worse.
Published 4 months ago by Eve Galewitz
4.0 out of 5 stars So Happy I Don't Live Where Barbara Lives
The rating reflects the experience this movie enable me to feel, without having to travel there and actually live it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Winnie
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Barbara...
I really loved this movie. The complexity of the emotion near the end brought me to tears. I have to purchase this to have in my collection of movies. Read more
Published 4 months ago by V. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars a fireside tale.
I really liked this film a lot. It is a good story done the way the Germans do it. Moderately paced and with good character development for the time allotted. Read more
Published 5 months ago by paul kummer
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