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Showing 1-10 of 140 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 247 reviews
on March 8, 2017
If you know anything at all about the Soviet period and in particular about the partition of Germany, this is a delightful movie. It's especially good on the nostalgia factor, which is as rich as the plot line itself. Add in some good acting and deft direction and you have a lighthearted examination of the lure of the old communist world for a few of its more idealistic inhabitants.

If you're interested in the period and the location, it's worth watching this movie and then going to The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) which is absolutely superb and provides a much darker but equally revealing view into a world that vanished overnight, leaving behind two societies (Ossies and Wessies) who even twenty years later struggle to reconcile and deal with the present.
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on August 6, 2013
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 August 17, 2017
Worth the time to watch it. Insights into regime change, and choosing a legend for the symbol. The theme of the movie: we invent a private mythology for public events and places. I disagree about the comments on the slow pace. The pace matched the experience of someone recovering from a coma. If you haven't seen it, if you're thinking about tearing down walls and statues, you should watch this movie. Or at least consider what you will replace them with before you tear the statues down.
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on November 29, 2008
When I was about the same age as the main character in this film, I had a couple of East German pen pals and had the chance to visit them in East Germany about a year before the events of this movie. I was very interested in the topic of the movie. I like the portrayal of the different takes. You have the older people who miss some of the stability of their previous life, those who wouldn't necessarily go back but don't like all of the trappings of western society, and the young who adapt to western culture even though it isn't as perfect as it might have seemed. The premise of the story is interesting too. It's funny to see how the son tries to maintain the appearance of the old East Germany even as it slips away. The only thing I didn't like about the film is that by the end, the storyline seems to wander or get a bit old. Still, this is a great movie and something definitely a bit different if you are looking for a good foreign film.
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on May 27, 2016
This is one of my favorite movies. It tells the story of a family in East Germany before and after reunification. The father escapes to the West and leaves his wife and two children behind. Years later the patriotic mother has a heart attack and goes into a coma. While she's unconscious, Germany reunifies. A doctor advises the now adult son that she can't have any shocks. He spends a lot of energy and creativity trying to convince her that things are just like they were before she went into a coma. The movie is funny, emotional, serious in the right places, and has a linear story and satisfying ending (unlike other European films....)
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on November 22, 2016
I had to watch this movie for my German class.. But i was pleasantly surprised that i loved this movie. It touched on so many chords in my heart that i related to it in a way i never thought i would . Great movie.. thank you professor for making me watch this. I am also very glad it has subtitles because i am in german 101 and i would have been lost. however i think that just the acting would have conveyed the messages. As a mother one can only hope that you will be loved like this
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on August 3, 2017
If there was a 6th star I'd give it. Best movie I'v watched this year, and I didn't expect it at all when I rented it.
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on March 5, 2016
What an absolutely terrific movie. A clever story so well crafted. Truly a heartwarming and highly engaging story of a mother who had difficult choices to make during the Soviet occupation of East Germany. Her two children are young adults at the time the Berlin Wall came down and thrive in their new world. The son with the help of his talented amateur movie making friend, design a whole new unfolding drama for the mother who emerges from a coma. And a brilliant one it is. Even though we came to this movie late, so glad we did. Outstanding!
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on October 7, 2012
I enjoyed this movie for its amusing story, its peek at the GDR during its freedom transition, the touching and thought-provoking relationship between son and mother - and to bring extra dimension to that - a musical theme that I eventually recognized to be a soft rendition of Haddaway's "What is Love".

The unusual story and visual backdrops of this story really just grease the slides for something deeper that I feel is the true heart and soul of it; namely, the intertwined questions "What is Love?", and "Should he have told her the truth?". The latter question emerges no more than a third of the way through in the form of "WILL he tell her the truth?". That question morphs into "should he?" as the mother begins to regain herself and reveals some secrets about the family's past, until at the end we're left hanging on it. So should he have? We'll never know. The first question, though, is clearly what drove the son's own decision about how to handle his mother's predicament.

Personally I was disturbed by the ending, because either of two equally-plausible alternatives could have brought it home better for me. I almost gave the movie a '3' for that, but, it has too many other things going for it to be just average. My real rating is 3.5.
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on August 6, 2013
An original creation that places you in the middle of the debate between Communism and Capitalism without rhetorical slant. Daniel Brühl portrays the caring son who believes protecting his mothers' fragile health includes recreating her bedroom as the older East Germany, an island to modern day. His mission is honorable and his insight is charming in a film that cannot be categorized (and isn't that great to be able to say?). The narrative is both comedic and sad and portrayed against history in a neighborhood that can't help but fall prey to the modern world. The deeper story line weaves in and out and that heart of the film is strongly and sweetly felt. This German film is on a par with the French film "Amelie" for its ability to make us friends with a young character from childhood to young adult in a personal crisis and aided by the same songwriter/pianist with the perfect touch. Complicated story should be even more enjoyable with a deserved second viewing.
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