The film, Goodbye Lenin! is one of the most comprehensible movies that we were tasked to watch in class, next to A Woman is a Woman. For me, being able to understand the plot of the film gives the viewer a deeper sense of appreciation for the movie. The film was still quite peculiar (I’m starting to think maybe all European films are…), yet I was able to enjoy it much more than the others. The film was comedic, historical, and dramatic all at the same time. While there were times when I’d find myself laughing along with the whole class during funny scenes, I also found myself learning and being interested in the fall of the Berlin wall. Not just this, I also felt sad when Christianne died at the end of the movie. I think the class felt quite sad too as I was able to hear sniffing sounds, as if crying, from the people behind me. This just goes to show how Wolfgang Becker’s movie was successful in capturing the audience’s attention. Personally, the film taught me a few things about different types of love.
The first and I think the most obvious one, Goodbye Lenin! showed the lengths that a son would go through for his mother. Because the doctor told Alex that Christianne could not feel any deep emotions after waking up from her 8-month comatose, Alex chose to hide the truth from her. He went through the hassle of redecorating the newly renovated apartment to convince her that nothing has changed. He came up with phony videos with his friend to relieve his mother from her doubts after she saw a Coca-cola advertisement. He even got a taxi driver to play the role of Sigmund Jahn and cause a commotion in a public library. Aside from this, he was patient enough to buy groceries and repackage them every time. Though we can say that Alex somehow manipulated his mother and her surroundings, he did this with good intentions. It’s safe to say that maybe Alex’s motto in life is, “A little white lie never hurt nobody.”
Aside from Alex’ love for his mother, the film also shows the characters’ love for their country. Alex met his girlfriend during a rally, that he was willing to be part of and even got beaten up for by the police on national television. His mother, on the other hand, cares for the country and the regime so much that knowing about the changes pose a risk to her health. Despite Christianne’s situation, the film showed how resilient the characters were and how quickly a nation can adapt to the sudden changes in the country. We saw that Alex’ sister, from being a scholar, got a job at Burger King, found a new boyfriend, and redecorated their apartment with new and modern pieces. Meanwhile, Alex enjoyed strolling around with his girlfriend and finding empty houses to stay overnight.
The way Alex allowed his mother’s ashes to burst in the air, along with the firework, says a lot about the message of the film. For me, it symbolizes how change should not mean negative things all the time. We must accept the changes in our lives and maybe even celebrate them. We should let our anxieties and our worries disappear in the air just like a firework.