Goodbye Lenin is German black comedy film directed by Wolfgang Becker, starring Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova and Maria Simon.
Politic satire that tells story about how one family deals with dramatic society changes rather than biographical movie showing true political events at the time, politics is sort of a plot device to tell the real highly potential drama with such ending that makes you think about your own experiences.
Alex (Daniel Bruhl), unlike his mother he doesn’t believe in improvement of socialism in Germany. He’s sickened by that thought, that it makes him join the demonstrations, only to be seen by his mother, who shocked and sadden by that view simply falls in coma.
It is worst time possible to fall into coma, she was asleep during major events that reunited East and West Berlin, beginning of capitalism, American globalization…
Alex’s sister (Maria Simon) starts working at Burger King and begins relationship with a manager who moves in their apartment. Alex started dating
Lara (Chulpan Khamatova), girl with whom he had kind of ‘’meet cute’’ moment during demonstration and never really get to know her name, until he finds out she works as nurse. Eight months later was the moment when their mother wakes up from coma, expecting to find things just as same as they were before.
That’s when Alex gets that urge to try and manipulate reality in order to make his mother happy – reinventing socialism that doesn’t exist anymore.
He has so much work to do: hiding red banners in the city which belong to Coca Cola, hiding the fact that his sister abandoned her economic course in order to work at newly opened Burger King.
Alex begins recreating the world that no longer exist with his friend’s help who happens to be freelance filmmaker, both of them create fake news broadcast.
Even though his mother doesn’t suspect at all, she does have some doubts.
What Alex manage to do in the end is to show what he is willing to do in order to save his mother’s life, lying ends up being better decision than telling the truth.
'Future was in our hands, uncertain and promising.'
Just as this quote from the movie, I think the future was indeed very promising for Daniel Bruhl.
This movie forms part of the ‘’era’’ when he still didn’t join American industry, here he really showed his acting skills.
Alex is very believable character, if something, he really shows how people should treat their family, he did everything he could to spare his mother’s suffering and disappointed she would probably feel to see fall of socialism.
Someone who doesn’t agree with her beliefs leaves everything he believes in behind and recreates the world that no longer exists, all he does is out of love and that makes him such great character.
Bruhl is such emotional actor, it’s easy to believe in his actions in this movie, he makes us believe very quickly, he goes from one transition to another, he falls in love, he has that self awareness that world is about to change and he doesn’t question his own decisions when it comes to people he cares about.
His character is shifting between past and present, creating ostalgie – complex term that represents nostalgia for life in Communists East Germany.
In the scene where his mother ask him for specific food that no longer exists makes us see how determinate Alex is to ‘’recreate’’ and bring her that food, knowing she couldn’t make a difference between simple pickles.
I really like the music, I think it gives us those feelings of nostalgia, missing something that no longer exists.
If you listen closely you could actually hear it through Yann Tiersen's music, which was by my opinion the best choice.
Alex's mother dies in the end, leaving us with a lot of questions, really emotional ending to emotional story.
Is it better to die without knowing or to live disappointed?
Nostalgia is recurring theme in this movie and I think this is something that people should watch at least twice a year, it's definitely worth it!