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Good Bye Lenin!

4.6 out of 5 stars 220 customer reviews

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(Aug 10, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Two traumatic events affect the life of East Berliner, Christiane Kerner. First, in 1978, her husband, Robert, runs off to freedom and another woman in the west, leaving her to take care of their two adolescent children, Ariane and Alex, by herself. Always a good Socialist, Christiane devotes her life to the cause as a symbol of anger toward her husband. And second, in 1989, she sees a now grown Alex marching in an anti-Berlin Wall demonstration and being hauled off by police. As a result, she suffers a heart attack and goes into a coma. While Christiane is in her coma, Germany drastically changes with the Wall coming down and the imminent official reunification of East and West into one. The Kerner's personal life also changes with all aspects of the new found capitalist world infiltrating their home. When Christiane emerges from her coma eight months later, her health situation is still tenuous. Any shock she experiences could possibly lead to another heart attack and certain death. To protect his mother, Alex decides not to tell her of the new Germany in which they live. He feels he can better protect her at home, where he can control to what she is exposed. Although most around him don't support the idea - including Ariane and Lara (Alex's Russian immigrant girlfriend who is also Christiane's nurse) - they go along with the extreme measures Alex goes to to recreate East Germany in their home. How long can they keep up the ruse?

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Florian Lukas, Maria Simon
  • Directors: Wolfgang Becker
  • Writers: Wolfgang Becker, Achim von Borries, Bernd Lichtenberg, Christoph Silber, Hendrik Handloegten
  • Producers: Andreas Schreitmüller, Katja De Bock
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: German
  • Region: Region 2 (Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008W41B
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Good Bye Lenin!" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Goodbye Lenin takes a sliver of recent history (reunification of Germany) and weaves it into a tender, bittersweet tale of farce and romance. Presenting a world that no longer exists is hard enough, but making it convincing to the viewer with gentle hints of humour requires a stroke of genius.

We may not know of the precise nostalgia felt by East Germans when the products they grew up with were replaced by spiffy modern imports from adjoining nations. But these moments are so beautifully handled, and the son's alternative approaches so cutely frantic, that we cannot avoid relating to similar emotions from our own contexts.

The film goes on for a bit in the middle with goofy antics and knowing jokes, but it is richly textured in its nods towards other directors like Fellini and Kubrick.

Don't let subtitles put you off from seeing this heart-breaking yet oddly comforting film. One of the best movies I've seen in 2004!
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I am originally from East Germany. I lived there in 1989. I saw the demonstrations happen in my hometown (not Berlin), I felt the tension, but also the excitement and insecurity of the days following the fall of the wall.
I watched the movie last year in Germany, watched in in December again when it was released on DVD in Germany and am planning to show it to my students in a politics class. That is how much I love this movie. I love it because he shows something very simple ... the things a person wants to go through for the love of his mother. But also because it quite adequately portrays the time of 1989 and 1990. It shows how excited people became if they already got their car after waiting "only 3 years" when it was normal to wait 10+ years. It shows also how proud East Germans were about some of their achievements, how attached they were to the system and I know how hard it was and still is for some to deal with the demise of the GDR. It gives a bit of an insight in the problems and ways of thinking from that time.
The movie is fascinating on many levels and entertaining and humorous on so many others. Katrin Sass, an actress from East Germany, and Daniel Bruehl who plays her son, make a great cast for the movie. Katrin Sass, because she can portray the die-heart communist with such credibility, not overdone nor distorted, and Daniel Bruehl because he plays this young man so well. The movie comes with high recommendation from me.
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Format: DVD
Finally, a film that satisfied a lifelong curiosity I've had for people my age who lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Since elementary school, I always wondered what it was like for kids like me who were unfortunate to be born in the Soviet Union or East Germany, two of the harshest communist states. This curiosity led to my checking out books on the topic and reading about it, and being called a "commie" by my fellow Americans, as if curiosity about someone our government tells us is "our enemy" makes me one of them!

I was thrilled when I read a movie like this had come out, showing life in the last days of East Germany and the euphoria of a new world opening up for people who pretty much lived in a prison all their lives. Of course, the initial rush of euphoria in newfound freedom left a harsh wake up call as differences in work ethics, standards of living, and cultural references became more and more apparent after reunification of the two Germanys. In personal terms, think of what it would be like if separated twins discovered each other late in life...one a Wall Street stockbroker, the other a trailer park living low wage slave. A clash in more ways than one, right?

The performances of Daniel Bruhl as the idealistic son and of Katrin Sass as the mother who always believed in Marxism, both performances really stand out and are Oscar-worthy. The lengths the son goes to, to prevent his mother from falling into another coma over the shock of the demise of East Germany provides much of the humor. My favorite scene is when the mother, tired of being cooped up in the bedroom, decides to go for a walk outside and its like walking through Wonderland for her.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Good Bye, Lenin! is a movie set in East Germany that starts in the late 70s. We watch a family, in the opening credits, in which the father has escaped to the West, leaving behind his wife, and two kids. Alex, the son, is the character who tells the story and we watch as the mother, broken and in pain from her husband dumping them, embraces socialism to the point where she is totally loyal to its ideals.

In 1989 she has a heart attack, falls into a coma, and misses the most important eight months in world history. The fall of the Berlin wall, the collapse of communism, frankly everything she believes in dies a swift, total death. Then she comes out of the coma and her son is warned by the doctor that ANY shock might bring another heart attack. Any shock. So her son has to make her think that NOTHING has changed.

The film is one of the funniest Non-English flicks I have EVER seen. The son has to find food she likes (that no longer exists), has to set up the TV with a VCR so she only watches shows from before the collapse and even has to organize her birthday with people who know that they have to pretend that history hasn't passed her by. Yet it has a serious underlining message about the importance of family that is touching (and sad at the same time) and I think a slight poke at materialism. Coca-Cola must have paid millions to get its name in so many scenes!

But Alex is not the only one making up lies. The mother has woven some lies of her own which end up coming out. The truth about their father.

The extras are great and this is a movie you should get at all cost, used or new.
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