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An English girl marries a German lawyer in the 1930s and they try to live as normal a life as they can in Hitler's Germany. When Allied bombs start falling on German cities, Christabel takes her two young sons to a village in the mountains. Then she learns that her husband and some of his friends have been arrested for plotting to assassinate Hitler. She travels to the prison where he is held, wondering if telling the commandant that she knows Winston Churchill will help her husband or seal his fate. This is said to be based on a true story. Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Christabel's true story needed to be told. Not just because she was the wife of a man involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler, but because it shows the all-too-ignored German life during wartime. It shows the humanity and the doubts felt by many Germans, keeping away from the stereotypes so prevalent in many films about the era. The actors playing Germans speak in broad English accents, and this is a brilliant device, because they make the Germans identifiable characters. There is one scene when an older German man, in Nazi uniform, teaches Christabel's children how to salute Hitler. Because the German does it in English tones, you may be even more chilled. Elizabeth Hurley looks little like her current model self. Her acting attains everything the writers and director would've wanted, but without a brilliance. It was, it must be remembered, one of her first features. Overall, this is an important piece of work for the reality it gives. One of Hurley's best scenes is when she's sitting with an old German woman in the street just as the bombs start to fall. They cry together, and you may want to cry with them. This is an autobiographical film about good people put into extraordinary circumstances, how they thought, how they argued, and the choices they made. All through the piece you wonder whether you'd do the same things. 8/10
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