Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Came across the bulk of one of my favourite films showing on TV this morning.

Good Bye Lenin! is about a staunch socialist woman who falls into a coma just before the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and only comes around several months later after things have significantly changed.

Of course, she's still pretty sick, so the doctor warns her son that she mustn't have any sudden, nasty shocks. He decides that news of the arrival of capitalism must be kept from his mum at all costs. Comedy ensues.

Yet, this is one of those comedies that is played so straight that it's a drama.

Alex's transition from a reliable son into a manipulative propagandist is subtle, yet huge. In his first lie, he can't even get the weather right. By the end of the film, he's paying actors and having entire fake news-reports piped to her bedside TV on a regular basis. Yes, he even controls the media...

But while this is a very, very funny film, it is also about twice as sad.

His mum is sick throughout, and the enormous emotional strain of her sustained delusion, together with her faltering memory, have devastating consequences outside of her bedroom, and literally ruin her family. Again and again the stakes go even higher, and again and again Alex gambles and loses so much to keep his mother from the shock that might kill her.

The film's ending is, I think, tremendously clever. Tonight, as I say, I watched it a second time, and scrutinised it for the clues that I thought must surely be non-verbally present. I love that they went to so much trouble that I could do that.

Good Bye Lenin. 10 out of 10.


0 comment(s):

Post a Comment

<< Back to Steve's home page

** Click here for preceding post(s) **

** Click here for following post(s) **