Although beautifully shot and acted, this Academy Award-winner for Best Foreign Language Film is hampered by an unsympathetic lead character whose transformation from pampered, selfish bitch to strong, caring woman does not ring true. Adapted from an autobiographical novel by Stefanie Zweig, the film concerns the true story of a Jewish family who fled Nazi Germany for Kenya. While the book unfolds from the perspective of the author (called Regina in the movie), a child of five when her family left Europe, writer-director Caroline Link shifts the film's focus to Jettel, Regina's mother, and to the parents' disintegrating marriage. Link seems to want this to be a movie about the force of love and the mother's own emotional development. Because we don't see what brings about Jettel's change of heart, however, the transformation feels false. The film boasts good acting across the board, with special praise for the two girls who play Regina at different ages, a lovely score, and nice camera work, as well as the austere beauty of Kenya.