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Good Bye, Lenin!
Good Bye Lenin
Actors: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Florian Lukas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
R     2004     2hr 1min

Contemporary comedies rarely stretch themselves beyond a bickering romantic couple or a bickering couple and a bucket of bodily fluids, which makes the ambition and intelligence of Good bye, Lenin! not simply entertaining ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Florian Lukas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Love & Romance
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/10/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 1min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: German
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 09/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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!"
Best Film of 2004!
Nicholas Carroll | Portland OR United States | 10/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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 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. The look of complete bafflement on her face as she watches a statue of Lenin fly through the air, in a salutatory departure, is pure joy to watch. Just her look alone perfectly conveys the confusion of a world being turned upside down.

This film addresses the issue of "Ostalgie" that has gripped some former East Germans in the late 1990s as they have found that the materialism of the West hasn't replaced a sense of community for them. Under the iron fisted rule of Honecker, they might not have had much, but they suffered together and had a genuine sense of community...although any one of their neighbors could have turned them in to the state for any number of "violations." Watching this film, one can see the draw of culture on a person and the void left behind when the culture is stripped away or proven false. Does longing for the familiar products of one's youth actually mean a desire to return to the way things were? I don't think so...but culture is something we'll always carry with us. It's who we are.

The brilliance of this film for me, is that we get to look at East Germans as people with no control over their form of government. In America, we were taught that the Russians and Eastern Europeans were our "enemies" and a lot of people bought into it. But in reality, they are people just like us. People who believe their government over a foreign government they're not familiar with. Are we any different? I like that this film shows an idealistic young East German and his yearning for freedom, idolizing a Cosmonaut, and who loves his mother so much that he dares not tell her the truth about what happened to their country since she fell into and out of a coma. This deception strains his relations with his sister, but provides much humorous situations before reaching a satisfying conclusion. I have no complaints about this film. It's flawless and brilliant. The acting and humor are first rate and Oscar-worthy. I would rate "Goodbye Lenin!" as the best film I've seen so far in 2004."
Bye Lenin, Welcome Unified Germany... Or?
Antonio Robert | Slovakia, Europe | 03/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"With films like "Good Bye, Lenin!", both the critics' and viewers' darling in Europe (winner of Felix for Best European Film and French Cesar for Best EU Film of 2003), you should put your logic to rest -- this is a black comedy which crumbles under strict common sense; but when you try to understand its point of view, you may relish in the "American Beauty"-lite distorted story with lots of truth hidden inside.Alex (Daniel Bruehl) is a 20-something young man, whose mother, on the surface a devoted citizen of communist East Germany, suffers a heart attack, having witnessed a protest in October 1989. After she 'wakes up' eight months afterward, the communist regime is gone and the unification of Germany after 42 years of split is pending. But Alex, afraid of a crushing blow this reality would mean for her, takes great pains to persuade his bed-ridden mom that German Democratic Republic is still a reality -- he gets out-of-use groceries for her, shows her old-times video footage and gets 'enthusiastic' neighbors playing their roles to achieve the goal. Yet we feel that the moment the mother Christiane (Katrin Sass) finally finds out what's going on, is imminent.Director Wolfgang Becker skilfully and un-pathetically intertwines two layers of a story -- the real fate of this particular family is far from happy and is in a strange, thought-provoking contrast with the comedian bulk of the story. The film's sober bitter-sweetness confirms that almost nothing in this world is only black or only white.Although the potential of the movie to let outsiders feel what it really meant for ordinary people to live on the wrong side of Berlin Wall is a bit questionable (although favored, "Good Bye, Lenin!" was snubbed at Oscar nominations), it's already one of the definitive film (and artistic) statements of Germany's unifying process and may well prove essential for students of German and maybe even Eastern Europe's history in the 20th century."
Spreewald Pickles!
Michael Valdivielso | Alexandria, VA | 08/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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.