Saturday, July 7, 2012

975. Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

Running Time: 121 minutes
Directed By: Wolfgang Becker
Written By: Wolfgang Becker, Bernd Lichtenberg
Main Cast: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Florian Lukas
Click here to view the trailer


In a 100 that was filled to the brim with films from the 21st Century, this will be my last movie of the season that is from the "Oughts". In fact, out of all the films from 21st Century that are in THE BOOK, I only have seven left to watch, in total.

"Good Bye Lenin!" is primarily set around the time that the Berlin Wall came down and East Germany and West Germany became one, united nation. The film begins, with narration by our main character, Alex Kerner (Bruhl), by telling us the history of his own life. He grew up in a happy home, living in East Germany. When Alex was a child, his father escaped East Germany and fled to the West, with his mistress, leaving his wife and kids behind, never to speak to them again. This event devastated Alex's mother, Christiane (Sass), but she used her free time and energy to fuel the socialist movement, even receiving awards for her outstanding socialist attitude and dedication. Many years later, once are characters are older and our main character is all grown up, Christiane suffers a devastating heart attack, that sends her into an eight month coma. During her time unconscious at the hospital, the Berlin Wall is torn down and East and West Germany, simply become Germany. Eight months later, Christiane wakes up and the doctors inform Alex that she isn't out of the woods yet. They go on to inform him that any major shocks could send her heart spiraling into another attack. Alex realizes that the collapse of the Wall could be the shock that kills his mother, so he schemes to make sure she doesn't find out about any of it. He sets her room up just the way she had it when she went into the hospital, wipes out all recognition that Germany is united and even sets up fake newscasts, with help from co-workers, so that she can watch television without threat of finding out. Other characters include: Alex's sister, Ariane (Simon) and his girlfriend, Lara (Khamatova).

At the suggestion of Ray, my old, frequent commenter (Ray if you're reading this, I hope all is well and hope to see you back on the blog soon), I should've watched this in conjunction with "The Lives of Others", because they would've made great companion pieces to one another. Anyway, I at least got them into the same 100 together and I'm glad I did, because now I come out of this 100 with a greater knowledge of the whole East Germany/West Germany situation and the falling of the wall. Each film is quite different in presentation and tone, as "The Lives of Others" was a solemn, suspense-filled drama, while "Good Bye Lenin!" is a comedy, with a lot of heart and a very serious side. The film gives us a major event in our world's history and takes a humorous look at it, while never diminishing the seriousness of the entire affair. In fact, the primary story itself is one that could be told through many situations, it just so happens that this story is told by using the divide of a country as it's focal point. The basic story is simply about a man going to extremes to prevent his mother from finding out vital information that could kill her. It's astounding that this is a really basic comedic outline and yet, it's presented in such a serious, sentimental way that it barely resembles a comedy.

I had a blast with this one, no question. I'm surprised that with such a strong 100, there are still films filing in at the last minute, that are carrying some major contention with them and great possibility for a shot at the TOP 20 list or, at the very least, a "Ten Worth Mentioning" nod. This was a fun movie, it provided likeable characters, a great score, a visual feast, a comedic plot and a serious background and left me feeling very good about the characters and how they ended up.

RATING: 7.5/10  I've said it before, I'll say it again: This list is going to be a real son of a bitch to put together. So many great films and only thirty spots to fill.


July 7, 2012  9:23pm

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