G is for Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

When his mother Christiane (Katrin Saß) wakes from an eighth month coma, Alex (Daniel Brühl) does everything he can to keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared, because a sudden shock may kill her.

The premise of Good Bye Lenin! sounds farcical but it works. Alex’s mother falls into a coma before the Berlin Wall came down and the unification of Germany. Alex, his sister Ariane (Maria Simon} and the rest of the population of what was East Germany has had months to get used to the changes – the good and the bad. So, when their mother wakes up and Alex comes up with the scheme, their friends and neighbours get in on the act of keeping up the charade.

Being set in 1990, it’s interesting to see how such a change in society and politics can happen so quickly, and how people can get used to the new normal relatively easy too. It’s the little details like how Alex has to re-jar all the food that’s now from international producers into jars with labels that his mother would know.

Saß and Brühl have a believable mother/son relationship and Daniel Brühl gives a great performance (when doesn’t he?), especially when things start to get out of hand, and he struggles to hold everything together.

Good Bye Lenin! is a sweet and funny family drama. The humour of the situation works well, and the comedic moments never takes away from the more quieter, dramatic moments. It has a real sense of community as neighbours help Christiane live out the past. But really, it’s a film about the love a son has for his mother, and how he will tell the most elaborate lie to keep her safe. 3/5.

8 comments

  1. I saw this one. It’s a great balance of madcap comedy and family drama.

    My favorite image is the increasingly larger Coca Cola trucks racing to bring capitalism to East Germany.

  2. I saw this movie! It’s such an oddity for me to even watch movies, let alone find anyone who’s likewise viewed such an obscure one, I figured I’d say hello. 🙂

    1. I love that feeling when you find someone who’s watched a film you have when it seems like no one else has even heard of it!
      Thanks for stopping by and saying hello 🙂

    1. Thank you 🙂 Must’ve been a good film to watch at school. Sometimes I miss that discussion element you get when watching films or reading books at school/university.

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