Stars: *** 1/2
Rating: Rated R for language and adult situations
Run Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes. In German with English subtitles
devotion and political upheaval in the face of
Leftist Christiane unexpectedly suffers a heart attack while witnessing a beating during a police riot, slipping into what seems like an irreversible coma. She sleeps through the climactic fall of the Berlin Wall, the relentless triumph of capitalism, and the abrupt extinction of threatening German borders. Months later Christiane awakens with a weak heart to a completely overhauled country.
doctors assure Alex that even the slightest shock could kill his idealistic
mother, so he does what he thinks best: creates an
Alex’s cocoon-like time capsule resounds with echoes of yesterday; a valentine to life past and a world devoid of external influence and luxurious excess. In his desire to complement his elaborate illusion, Alex goes so far as to have a friend tape faux newscasts, and stocks the apartment kitchen with East German delicacies, now nearly vanished from grocery store shelves.
Lenin! speaks to more than sleight-of-hand games and inevitable political change. Its social satire is tinged with affable humor and subtle sadnesses, even when the deception is too-lengthily drawn out. Alex’s unflinching devotion to his mother and her ideals is a tender essay on commitment, a steadfast emotion based on sanctuary and security.
Lovely piano music underlies the personal and cultural alterations. Brühl is alternately naïve and touching as an engaging boy/man who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, eminently willing to do so in the name of love.