7.7/10
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Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

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Writers:

, (collaborator on screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 33 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Maria Simon ...
...
...
...
...
Christine Schorn ...
Jürgen Holtz ...
Herr Ganske
Jochen Stern ...
Herr Mehlert
Stefan Walz ...
Sigmund Jähn
Eberhard Kirchberg ...
Hans-Uwe Bauer ...
Dr. Mewes
Nico Ledermueller ...
Alex - 11 Jahre (as Nico Ledermüller)
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Storyline

East Germany, the year 1989: A young man protests against the regime. His mother watches the police arresting him and suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma. Some months later, the GDR does not exist anymore and the mother awakes. Since she has to avoid every excitement, the son tries to set up the GDR again for her in their flat. But the world has changed a lot. Written by Benjamin Stello

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Die DDR lebt weiter -- auf 79 qm! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

14 May 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Good Bye Lenin!  »

Box Office

Budget:

€4,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,450,171 (Germany) (14 February 2003)

Gross:

$4,064,200 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jürgen Vogel has two appearances in the film. First he has a cameo as one of the arrested protesters (in the front row, wearing a blue jacket) and later he appears as the chicken in the supermarket (a reference to Wolfgang Becker's earlier film Das Leben ist eine Baustelle. (1997)) for which he is credited as "Das Küken" ("young chicken"). See more »

Goofs

A bottle of red Blanchet brand wine is shown, but when the wall came down, there was only Blanchet white wine. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
[spoiler]
Alexander Kerner: [voiceover] My mother outlived the GDR by three days. I believe it was a good thing she never learned the truth. She died happy. She wanted us to scatter her ashes to the winds. That's prohibited in Germany, both East and West. But we didn't care.
[launches rocket]
Alexander Kerner: She's up there somewhere now. Maybe looking down at us. Maybe she sees us as tiny specks on the Earth's surface, just like Sigmund Jähn did back then. The country my mother left behind was a country she believed in...
See more »

Crazy Credits

All i's, except the one in Lenin, are lower case. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Rep (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Comptine d'un autre Été : L'après-midi
by Yann Tiersen
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User Reviews

clever and amusing comedy
25 September 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Just as Rip Van Winkle slept through the American Revolution and woke up twenty years later to find himself a citizen of a brand new country, so Kathrin Sass, an East German woman, slips into a coma on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall only to wake up eight months later a member of a capitalist society. This is the premise of 'Good Bye Lenin,' a clever and affectionate tale about truth, love and family ties that transcends all national borders and boundaries.

Kathrin, a woman who has dedicated her life to the perpetuation of Communist Party ideology, suffers a major heart attack that plunges her into a comatose state a few months prior to the dissolution of the land she knows as East Germany. While she is 'asleep,' governments tumble, barriers crumble and a whole new tide of Western goods and values comes flooding eastwards to a ravenous, eagerly awaiting public. Then she wakes up. Fearing that the shock of finding such a radically changed world will lead to a second heart attack, her loving son, Alex, devises an elaborate scheme to shield her from the truth and to make her believe that the world she lives in now is the same world she knew eight months before (the basic premise is not that different from the one in 'Jacob the Liar').

'Good Bye Lenin!' is an amusing regional comedy that derives its laughs from two basic sources: the near-slapstick nature of the charade Alex is attempting to perpetrate, and the script's satirical view of a society rushing madly to embrace the joys of unbridled consumerism they have been so long denied. Given its gimmicky premise, 'Good Bye Lenin!' could have emerged as a one-joke comedy were it not for the fine sense of irony and absurdity that writer/director Wolfgang Becker (working with co-writer Bernd Lichtenberg) has brought to the project. In addition, young Daniel Bruhl as Alex and Katrin Sab as Kathrin deliver expert, moving performances that go to the very essence of the mother/child relationship.

I must confess that this film, despite its generally upbeat tone, brings with it a certain rueful sadness that the filmmakers may not exactly have intended. Could it really have been a mere fifteen years ago that the events depicted in this film actually happened - a mere fifteen years ago that the future of the human race seemed so full of joy, hope and promise? Now, in a post 9/11 world - where sectarian hatred and international terrorism rule the day - this image of people coming together to cast off the shackles of bondage and embrace freedom seems already like a quaint memory from the long distant past. In a strange way, the film has become something of a relic in its own time, outstripped by a world that has long since moved on to bigger and more dire concerns. 'Good Bye Lenin' reminds us of just how long ago and far away the Cold War really was.


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