For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
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
The concept of this movie, which is that a young man has to do all in his power to stop his mother who is recovering from a heart attack learning of what's happened to Germany while she was in a coma, is absolutely delicious, but it's a premise that could easily go wrong. However, I'm pleased to report that it certainly didn't go wrong, and through interesting characterisation, a great script and some thought-provoking ideas; Good Bye, Lenin! is a winner all the way! An excellent ensemble gives way to a story that has a lot of heart, and one that makes it's points - both politically and otherwise - without the use of a sledgehammer. Good Bye, Lenin! is one of those films that is what you make of it; on the one hand, it's a touching and entertaining story of a boy's journey into adulthood and his love for his mother, but on the other hand; it's a biting political satire that intertwines themes of how our perception of certain truths can impact our lives.
Daniel Brühl, a young Spanish talent, takes the lead role as 'Alex', the young man at the centre of the tale. Through his subtle acting, Daniel is able to capture the determination and adoration that epitomise his character wonderfully. He is joined by the beautiful Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon and Alexander Beyer, who lend support to Brühl, as his girlfriend, sister and sister's boyfriend respectively, along with Kathrin Sass, who takes the central role of the mother recovering from a heart attack. I can't pick a single fault with any one of them. The setting of the fall of the Berlin Wall serves as a great place to set this story, as it allows the film to give a commentary on the changes of Germany's political landscape at the same time as allowing us to take in themes of family, love and the perception of truth that are abundantly clear. There aren't many bad things that I can say about it, and the only one really is that it can be a bit over sentimental at times. On the whole, however, Good Bye, Lenin! is an absolute treat and most certainly one of the better movies to have been released so far this decade.
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