In comparison to other European movies shown in class, Goodbye, Lenin! was surprisingly very normal, and of the most easily understandable. It dealt with a linear plot, a clear premise, a charismatic central character, not that unconventional ways of storytelling, and a discernible conflict. However, despite it seeming very formulaic of Hollywood movies, I find that its art cinema tendencies are integrated in how it’s able to present itself as conventional, but in its very essence makes fun of the craft of cinema itself. Through a ridiculous over-the-top dedication to movie-making, that parallels so many film majors I know, the movie uses cinema as a major force in Daniel Brühl’s character’s deceit of his mother.
Daniel Brühl, the actor that plays the main protagonist in the film is one of the most charming actors I’ve ever seen on-screen—not in a Hugh Grant charming way, no—but in his own kind of slightly quirky and compelling and magnetic and lively and lovable way. Yes, I am in love with him. To top it all off, he’s one hell of a performer too. I firmly and confidently declare that the film is already worth-watching from Daniel Brühl’s performance alone.
However, the movie itself doesn’t pale in comparison to its vibrant star. It has several notable charms of its own. I find the wonderful satire plot well-written that it’s silly yet still a smart political commentary. Actual documentary footages of this tumultous time in history are shown, and the presence of the dreams and delusions upon which the East Germans were sustained with were all situated in the film, yet everything is discussed with sophistication. A confrontation with a bank teller about Alex’s fortune was based on actual history of the reunification favoring the West Germans. Another commentary of the film is the ridiculousness of the tendency of political beliefs in infiltrating matters such as family and health. There were a lot of other gripping moments in history that the film captured, but they were absolutely elegantly integrated. I think this is firmly what sets it apart from The Edukators, since it is more successful in delivering political and social commentaries subtly and more elegantly.
The driving force of the movie is how it rises above the usual comedy films that made me despise the whole comedy genre. Usually, comedy movies that I am familiar of are filled with shallow jokes, condescending humor, and insulting joculars. Instead, this German masterpiece can humor without making fun of its characters. It mainly is driven by sublime comedic timing that complements the tender story being told. As Alex’s family faced new challenges scene after scene, it’s up to him to come up with hilarious solutions on how to address them. The thoughtful look into the great lengths to which people will actually go for for important relationships is also what makes this movie beautiful. Ideologies melt when it comes to affairs of the heart and that’s what people should remember.