Good Bye Lenin! (GoodBye Lenin!) (R)

Drama 121 February 27, 2004
By Melissa Levine
In this charming new film from director Wolfgang Becker, the fall of East German socialism provides the comedic backdrop for a tender story about a boy's love for his mother. It's 1989, and 20-year-old Alex Kerner (Daniel Brühl) lives with his mother Christiane (Katrin Sass) in the small East German flat where he grew up. Years before, when Alex's father left, Christiane "married the socialist fatherland," becoming a model citizen and teacher. Now, in October 1989, Christiane has a heart attack and falls into a coma, remaining there for eight months. When she wakens, she must be protected from upset, lest she suffer another attack, so Alex must re-create the East Germany she left eight months before. The coma/amnesia conceit is familiar: In this case, the joke is that, in East Germany in 1989, eight months were equivalent to a lifetime. It's a clever and sweet-humored bit of situational comedy. With light-hearted wit, compassion, and an artful attention to detail, the film is winningly funny and humane.
Wolfgang Becker Daniel Brühl, Maria Simon, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Florian Lukas Wolfgang Becker, Bernd Lichtenberg Stefan Arndt Sony Pictures Classics


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