Good Bye, Lenin!

Not knowing about the exact history of a certain country, Good Bye, Lenin! is an interesting tragicomedy as well as great history lesson about Germany. Since the movie is in German, it is understood that the primary target audience are supposed to be people from their country, but it also gives a great message for the others that have seen it.

The first thing I liked about the film was that Good Bye, Lenin! shows the dynamics of family and country. Initially, it shows how conflict may arise because of those two factors. The film starts of introducing the siblings Alex and Ariane, along with their mother, Christiane, who is an advocate of the socialist cause in East Berlin. As they grew older, the siblings we not fond of the socialism whereas their mother continued to fully support it. One day, Alex decided to join a rally fighting against socialism and his mother witnessed it, causing her to have a heart attack, leading to a coma that would last for eight months.

That tragic event, together with societal change, caused a huge shift in the lives of all in the family. During those eight months, East Berlin transformed into a capitalist state, having drastic changes to the lifestyle of the people. When Christiane finally woke up, the doctor said that any form of shock could potentially lead to her death. Alex accepted the challenge of doing everything to make his mother believe that they were still in the same country they were eight months ago. There was now a need to compromise. Alex was willing to sacrifice set aside his beliefs in exchange for his mother having a longer life. It was also shown how a family was rebuilt despite the challenges through the addition of Rainer, Ariane’s husband, and Lara, Alex’s girlfriend.

In addition, the director, Wolfgang Becker, was able to present to the world the state Germany was in during the 1990s. Despite being in the background of the family’s story, the change Germany underwent throughout the film was surely felt. It symbolized the transition of an arguably fragmented country, different fractions finally uniting as one. It gives a heartwarming message to the viewers that change is inevitable and necessary at time s for the overall improvement of the collective. Honestly, I have always had a bad view of Germany due to the holocaust being attached to its name. However, this film made me realize that drastic change may still arise from seemed to be a hopeless situation.

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