7.7/10
131,390
240 user 159 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 »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 36 wins & 20 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:

The German Democratic Republic lives on -- in 79 square meters! 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:

EUR4,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$57,968, 29 February 2004

Gross USA:

$4,064,200

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$79,316,957
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

All letters in the movie were written by a young woman from Cologne who did practical training with the film crew. See more »

Goofs

When Dennis and Alex arrive at their firm and their colleagues are watching a football match in 1990, the worker who is opening a bottle of champagne at the end is wearing a t-shirt from the 1994 soccer championship. See more »

Quotes

Ariane Kerner: You were in a coma. Eight months ago.
Christiane Kerner: Eight months? What happened?
Ariane Kerner: Yeah, it was...
Alexander Kerner: It was in October, in the supermarket. There was this enormous queue and it was really hot and you just passed out.
Christiane Kerner: In October?
Alexander Kerner: It was a really hot October. At the time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Renowned German actor Jürgen Vogel plays the chicken in the supermarket and is credited as "Das Küken" ("young chicken"). See more »

Connections

References Amélie (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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