7.7/10
126,441
232 user 158 critic

Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

Director:

Wolfgang Becker

Writers:

Bernd Lichtenberg, Achim von Borries (collaborator on screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 35 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Brühl ... Alex
Katrin Saß ... Mutter
Chulpan Khamatova ... Lara
Maria Simon Maria Simon ... Ariane
Florian Lukas ... Denis
Alexander Beyer ... Rainer
Burghart Klaußner ... Alex' Vater
Michael Gwisdek ... Klapprath
Christine Schorn Christine Schorn ... Frau Schäfer
Jürgen Holtz Jürgen Holtz ... Herr Ganske
Jochen Stern Jochen Stern ... Herr Mehlert
Stefan Walz Stefan Walz ... Sigmund Jähn
Eberhard Kirchberg Eberhard Kirchberg ... Dr. Wagner
Hans-Uwe Bauer Hans-Uwe Bauer ... Dr. Mewes
Nico Ledermueller Nico Ledermueller ... Alex - 11 Jahre (as Nico Ledermüller)
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Storyline

East Germany, the year 1989: A young man protests against the regime. His mother watches the police arresting him and suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma. Some months later, the GDR does not exist anymore and the mother awakes. Since she has to avoid every excitement, the son tries to set up the GDR again for her in their flat. But the world has changed a lot. Written by Benjamin Stello

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Die DDR lebt weiter -- auf 79 qm! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German | English | Russian

Release Date:

14 May 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Good Bye Lenin! See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€4,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,450,171 (Germany), 14 February 2003

Opening Weekend USA:

$57,968, 29 February 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,064,200

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$79,384,880
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Florian Lukas was originally cast as Alex. When director Wolfgang Becker chose Daniel Brühl for that role, he offered Lukas the role of Denis. See more »

Goofs

A GT6N-type streetcar, which was not in service before 1995, can be seen in the summer of 1990. See more »

Quotes

Alexander Kerner: The future lay in our hands. Uncertain, yet promising.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A CPR instructional diagram is included in the end credits. See more »

Connections

References Jules and Jim (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Comptine d'un autre Été : L'après-midi
by Yann Tiersen
See more »

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User Reviews

clever and amusing comedy
25 September 2004 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

Just as Rip Van Winkle slept through the American Revolution and woke up twenty years later to find himself a citizen of a brand new country, so Kathrin Sass, an East German woman, slips into a coma on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall only to wake up eight months later a member of a capitalist society. This is the premise of 'Good Bye Lenin,' a clever and affectionate tale about truth, love and family ties that transcends all national borders and boundaries.

Kathrin, a woman who has dedicated her life to the perpetuation of Communist Party ideology, suffers a major heart attack that plunges her into a comatose state a few months prior to the dissolution of the land she knows as East Germany. While she is 'asleep,' governments tumble, barriers crumble and a whole new tide of Western goods and values comes flooding eastwards to a ravenous, eagerly awaiting public. Then she wakes up. Fearing that the shock of finding such a radically changed world will lead to a second heart attack, her loving son, Alex, devises an elaborate scheme to shield her from the truth and to make her believe that the world she lives in now is the same world she knew eight months before (the basic premise is not that different from the one in 'Jacob the Liar').

'Good Bye Lenin!' is an amusing regional comedy that derives its laughs from two basic sources: the near-slapstick nature of the charade Alex is attempting to perpetrate, and the script's satirical view of a society rushing madly to embrace the joys of unbridled consumerism they have been so long denied. Given its gimmicky premise, 'Good Bye Lenin!' could have emerged as a one-joke comedy were it not for the fine sense of irony and absurdity that writer/director Wolfgang Becker (working with co-writer Bernd Lichtenberg) has brought to the project. In addition, young Daniel Bruhl as Alex and Katrin Sab as Kathrin deliver expert, moving performances that go to the very essence of the mother/child relationship.

I must confess that this film, despite its generally upbeat tone, brings with it a certain rueful sadness that the filmmakers may not exactly have intended. Could it really have been a mere fifteen years ago that the events depicted in this film actually happened - a mere fifteen years ago that the future of the human race seemed so full of joy, hope and promise? Now, in a post 9/11 world - where sectarian hatred and international terrorism rule the day - this image of people coming together to cast off the shackles of bondage and embrace freedom seems already like a quaint memory from the long distant past. In a strange way, the film has become something of a relic in its own time, outstripped by a world that has long since moved on to bigger and more dire concerns. 'Good Bye Lenin' reminds us of just how long ago and far away the Cold War really was.


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