Note: This is a limited-release film, so it may not be playing near you.

A modern-day twist on the old Rip Van Winkle tale, Good Bye, Lenin! is a humorous yet poignant story about how difficult it can be to embrace change, yet still hold on to our dreams and the people we love.

The year is 1989, and East Berlin is celebrating 40 years of socialist rule by the German Democratic Republic. However, these are tumultuous times, and East Germany is on the brink of dramatic political and cultural change.

While on her way to an honorary state ceremony, loyal communist Christiane (Katrin Sass) sees her son, Alex (Daniel Bruhl), beaten by police as he protests the regime. The shock causes her to suffer a heart attack, collapse in the street and fall into a coma.

Christiane finally awakens eight months later, but East Berlin is a very different place. The Berlin Wall has fallen and Western influences dominate the city. However, Christiane's physical condition is still tenuous and doctors warn that any kind of excitement could kill her. Convinced that the new state will be too much for her socialist heart to handle, Alex decides to re-create the old East German world in his mother's bedroom.

Enlisting the help of his sister (Maria Simon) and his co-worker (Florian Lukas), Alex goes to humorously absurd lengths to keep up the charade. Using everything from phony television newscasts and staged birthday parties to recycled pickle jars, he spins current events to reflect his mother's communist worldview. (Who knew that Coca-Cola was really a socialist invention?)

But as Westernization continues to advance, Alex's ruse becomes more difficult to maintain. One day, Christiane wanders outside her apartment and is confused by the commercialism that ...

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Good Bye, Lenin!
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
R (for brief language and sexuality)
Directed By
Wolfgang Becker
Run Time
2 hours 1 minute
Cast
Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon
Theatre Release
May 14, 2004 by Sony Pictures Classics
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