Quick recap: After his mother emerges from a coma, a young man tries to keep her from learning that her beloved country of East Germany has collapsed, out of fear that the news will kill her.
Fun (?) fact: The story is loosely based on the last couple of years of VI Lenin’s life. Josef Stalin was afraid that excitement could caused serious health problems so he censored all media about the political issues of the time.
My thoughts: Good Bye Lenin was all over the place for me: I laughed, I cried, I drank Coke. Seriously though, the Coke advertising was ridiculous. Was there some Coca-Cola invasion I missed learning about in History? I know that Texas can be sort of hit and miss about important facts children should know, but you would think this would be the sort of thing I would’ve paid attention to.
All joking aside, watching Good Bye Lenin made me realize how little I knew about the fall of East Germany and how complicated the whole thing was. I know about the wall and I could probably name some important figures, but what I never thought about were the people. Not just the fact that families could finally be reunited but how hard it must have been to transition to a democracy after having little to no choice before. These kinds of governments are awful, of course, but they provide a sense of familiarity and calmness, whereas a Westernized country is overwhelming. It made sense why the son, Alex,would try to shield his mother from all of it because he was having a hard time on his own.
Alex’s love for his mother was to me the most important part of the film. There were several funny scenes about the lengths he took to keep his mother from knowing about the fall of her country- from paying boys to sing Socialist songs, to creating fake news reports so his mother could watch tv. It was all done out of a fierce protection, but it was also done as protection from his own feelings. His mother was everything to him, but she also represented safety. In turn, I think Alex’s mother knew the country had changed long before he told her (which he never actually did. He created a fake story about East Germany letting West Germans in because they hated capitalism) but she too loved him so much that she let him continue the charade. The ending, which I won’t give away, was also beautiful and really tied the whole film together.
Final review: 5/5
Up next: One Upon a Time in China