Good Bye, Lenin! review

It's been said in the past that the Germans have no sense of humour. Utterly untrue of course - and further proof comes in the form of this comedy about the collapse of Communism (yes, you read that correctly).

Okay, so the fall of the Berlin Wall might not seem the stuff hilarity is made of, but writer/helmer Wolfgang Becker has nevertheless fashioned a sprightly satire that combines a gleeful sense of the absurd with a touching look at family relations.

When his fanatical, Socialist mother collapses on a protest march, East Berlin teen Alex (Daniel Bruhl) is told she can't survive another shock to the system. But the year is 1989, and by the time Christiane (Katrin Sass) wakes up, the Wall has been reduced to rubble. Can Alex keep reunification a secret?

From transferring gherkins into old Soviet jars to filming fake TV reports, Alex's mission soon becomes an obsession. How to explain the Coca-Cola banner outside? How can he exchange Christiane's worthless savings without her knowledge? The farcical confusions multiply, but never at the expense of the well-rounded, sympathetic characters. Throw in a lively score from Yann Amèlie Tiersen and sly homages to Kubrick and Fellini, and the result is a movie that'll have you giving up your deckchair with a big smile.

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