Good Bye Lenin!
Release year: 2003
Director: Wolfgang Becker
Screenwriter: Bernd Lichtenberg
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Florian Lukas, Alexander Beyer, Burghart Klaussner
Ratings: 1 Golden Globe nomination: Best Foreign Language Film.
After a heart attack, Alex’s (Brühl) mother (Sass) is fragile and the doctor fears a shock is enough to kill her. The problem is, that while she was in a coma for several months caused by the heart attack, the Berlin Wall fell and East Germany as she knows it has disappeared. Determined to protect her, Alex sets out to keep the change in their world hidden from her.
The German reunification in 1990 is one of the most political incidents in newer German history. But Good Bye Lenin! isn’t a political movie, it is a movie that focuses mainly on the personal aspect of the situation and how some of them felt, that the West was capitalism interfering with their values of family and traditions. One who clearly feels so is Alex. As he creates a fake world for his mother, it becomes more and more and more clear, that was he is creating, is also the world he wished he lived in. The way the son goes through so much to help his mother, is incredible touching and Brühl (Rush, 2013) does an excellent job bringing Alex to life as a sweet kid, whether he is falling in love or frustrated by the uncontrollable events in his life. The role as the mother is quite quiet, but Sass (Bürgschaft für ein Jahr, 1981) manage to make her lively still. As the self-centered sister, Simon (Lichter, 2003) is strong just as a charming Khamatova (Luna Papa, 1999) as Alex’s love interest. Some of the more humorous moments is created from a great Lukas (The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014) as Alex’s co-worker dedicating himself to the project by helping him create fake news programs. The movie is bittersweet and nostalgic, not laugh-out-loud funny and the love between mother and son touching, but Good Bye Lenin! is also a movie that makes you think and a pleasant way to learn more about recent German history.
The story is loosely based on the last two years of V.I. Lenin’s life, living in a controlled environment similar to what is portrayed in the film. With the justification that over-excitement might cause Lenin health problems, Joseph Stalin had printed for him one-copy edition newspapers, censored of all news about the political struggles of the time.
Picture copyrights: Sony Pictures