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Good Bye, Lenin!

Time Warp

Good Bye, Lenin!, the moving new film from director Wolfgang Becker, is a story about the unification of Germany, and one about a family struggling not to fall apart. It takes place in East Berlin in 1989 around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. When Alex's mother, a devout socialist, spots him amidst a mob trying to break past the barricade into the West she collapses, remaining in a coma long enough to miss the fall, unification, and capitalist giants like Coca-Cola take hold of the city. Her heart condition is so serious that any shock might kill her. To prevent his mother from discovering her beloved nation in ruins, Alex turns her bedroom into a pre-unification time warp. Unable to keep her from certain things, Alex's German history takes on a life of its own.

Hilarious and touching, the film does a great job of conveying the multifaceted, at times ambivalent, sentiments of people living in an period of German history which has been mostly overlooked in film. The sights of a pre- and post- Berlin Wall are well captured by both cinematographer Martin Kukula and with archival footage. All the actors are right on and believable (though I am easily fooled when it comes to foreign language films). It drags a bit in the middle, but is an altogether worthwhile experience.

German with English subtitles.