A Beautiful Lie

The film Good Bye, Lenin has both a comedic and serious tone for the fall of the German Democratic Republic. The story revolves this German family wherein the mother falls into a coma after seeing her son get arrested in the riot. After the she has fallen into a coma, the Berlin Wall collapses and this shows the audience that times are changing and capitalism has triumphed. When his mother finally wakes up, the doctor tells Alex and his sister that any sudden shock can kill their mother, and so this begins Alex efforts to give his mom an illusion that everything is still the same. Alex goes to great lengths such as refurnishing the apartment with communist decor, finding the groceries that his mother loves, paying kids to dress as Young Pioneers to serenade his mother, and even recreating old TV newscasts. These ridiculous feats achieved by Alex are what bring a comedic tone to the movie and what shows his great love for his mother, like for example Alex and his friend, Denis, filming for hours to produce fake news in order to ensure his mother that the world is still the same. This illusion brought by Alex has a comedic feel also because of the cinematography effects used in these scenes. For example, the scene wherein Alex is refurnishing the apartment is played in fast forward with music that brings a light and funny tone to the scene. Apart from bringing a comedic atmosphere, the film also shows a serious message to the audience concerning this period because the friction between the two parties brought positive and negative consequences to the German citizens. It was shown in the film that Christiane also had her own secret which she kept from her family, and the truth was that the father did not just run away with some “enemy of the state girlfriend”. The truth was that the father’s refused to join the ruling party at that time, and so it would make his job more difficult. The plan was to flee the country and his family would follow him, but the Christiane decided not to because she feared the government would take the children away from her. She also hid the fact that the father wrote many letters to them. We can see here the parallelism of lies because one lie made by the mother and one made by Alex. Both Christiane and Alex went to great lengths in constructing these lies and illusions to protect their loved ones from the truth which could bring them harm. I find this aspect of the film to be very interesting because it shows how far people would go for the ones they love even if it means lying to them. After watching the film I was left with many emotions because of the complexity of the characters and interesting perspective during this time period in Germany. I enjoyed how the perspective showed one of the two sides of the reunification which many of us do not realise.

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