Set in 1989 in Germany, Christiane, a loyalist and mother of two, falls into a coma after seeing her son, Alex, who was part of a crowd of anti-communist protesters was being arrested. When she wakes up from her coma, doctors advised Alex that she cannot have elevated emotions because it could lead to another heart attack. With that being said, Alex decided to conceal the truth from her, that the revolution had ended and the East and West side have confided already. He pretended as if everything was the same as it was before. Choosing to recreate what life was like in East Germany back then, he watches old news reports with her, pretending as if they were live on TV. He goes as far as fiddling with videos of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and he continues staging numerous events and fake reports until his mother’s death. However, one day, his mother steps out while he was asleep and actually catches sight of everything, even the statue of Lenin being carried by a military helicopter. Christiane dies without Alex knowing she actually found out the truth.
Good Bye, Lenin! tells the tale of the German reunification, from a different perspective or viewpoint. We see how the citizens, and families were greatly affected by this. We see the distinct transition from the old to the new. We all have a set of expectations when it comes to films related to this event in history; however, the story is told from the perspective of an average east German family and we see how life was like for them. It explores new aspects of the event that are not told or touched upon in most narratives. We are able to perceive how the German culture and identity evolved during the transition process of the German unification. Going through lengths with his elaborate lies and schemes to keep up this made up world and conceal the reality from his mother, a son’s love for his mother is highlighted upon in this film too.
We see the irony in the film and the repetitive, circular motion of events. Alex deceives his mother and creates an illusion that communism is still in power, however, Alex and his sister, Ariane are deluded by Christiane about their father and in the end, Alex is completely unaware that his mother actually found out the truth about everything. It allows us to see different perspectives, how the collapse of the wall could not have been good news for everybody, like Alex’s mother, Christiane. After eight months of being in a coma, we see how it was so quick for the East and the West to reunite and merge after the fall of the wall. This was able to show us a reality we never saw in any other film depicting the reunification. It was able to clearly depict how life was like in Germany at that time, specifically in the East side.