User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 3 out of 24

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  1. Dec 24, 2012
    Barbara was a nice surprise. Barbara, a physician, is banished to work at a hospital in the communist bloc of East Germany because she applied for an exit visa. She is watched like a hawk by authorities as someone who possibly may try to escape. In the meantime, she is plotting an escape with her boyfriend who occasionally has to come to the East side of the wall for his work. The depiction of the hospital and her living quarters is so stark and realistic. She also begins to have feelings for her colleague Andre, who is apparently head of staff at the hospital. The ending is not what you would expect. The acting is great, and the cinematography is first rate. The movie is German, so there are subtitles, but it is a slow paced film and the subtitles are easy to follow and don't detract. Nina Hoss is wonderful in the title role and the film is sure to be a contender for best foreign film at Oscar time. Highly recommended. Expand
  2. Jan 6, 2013
    What an excellent film. Several critics compare it to The Lives of Others, but they are quite different. The threat of the Stasi is much more overt and oppressive in The Lives of Others. It's certainly a threat in this film, and the room/body searches are here, but it's much more subtle feel. The focus on Barbara and her relationships with her boyfriend, her fellow doctor, and a troubled young girl stuck in a camp works because Nina Hoss is such an incredibly good actress. Highly recommended. Expand
  3. Mar 14, 2013
    Lovely mystery story. Barbara is so ice cold most of the film, especially towards her fellow doctor, Andre, that it's not until she comforts the young trapped girl that we see her gentle, caring side. She's in a real dilemma she wants to flee oppressive East Germany and yet she's drawn to her patients and her calling to care for sick and injured. Finally when her lover tells her she'll not have to work in Denmark after she escapes, she makes a heart-felt decision. Surprise ending which makes sense. Expand
  4. Jan 27, 2013
    This is a typical European import: subtitled with an oblique narrative, minimal dialogue, no music and deliberate pacing. The title character is an aloof doctor in a small village in 80s East Germany (before the wall came down). She works in a children's hospital and is subjected to constant surveillance from the authorities. Over the course of the film, she helps some of the patients, plots to flee the oppression and interacts with one sympathetic colleague. While it's intelligently crafted and never dull, it's still unsentimental and sparse. For serious buffs only. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 22
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 22
  3. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Mar 8, 2013
    The movie examines the possibility of maintaining one's humanity in a truly oppressive society.
  2. Reviewed by: Sheila O Malley
    Mar 6, 2013
    Petzold is a master at creating the kind of tension that can be felt on a subterranean level, a sort of acute uneasiness that can't be easily diagnosed, fixed, or even acknowledged by the characters. This is well-trod ground for Petzold, but never has it been so fully realized, so palpable, as in Barbara.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 7, 2013
    The whole film is an exercise in trust and the lack thereof. In the end, it’s a kind of horror film, really, a reminder that these sorts of things were endured by so many for so long, with hope an unlikely ally.