Goodbye Lenin!


Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32

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Critic Reviews

  1. I don't claim to have seen every entry from around the world, but it's hard to imagine five better than this deliciously offbeat comedy, as wildly inventive as anything Billy Wilder ever conceived.
  2. In a disarmingly entertaining fashion, this multiaward-winning German bittersweet comedy seems to encapsulate all the emotion and drama of that profound geopolitical event.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    This is a very funny picture, though it's never burlesqued and is, in fact, occasionally poignant.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Reveals more about the German people through sentimental comedy than such overtly political films as "The Nasty Girl" or "The Marriage of Maria Braun."
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    One of the most enjoyable movies I've seen lately, but it has a biting knowledge of that which history gives and history takes away.
  6. A funny and intermittently sharp German satire that musters gentle nostalgia for East German communism while mocking the not-so-distant past.
  7. 83
    One of those gratifyingly nostalgic works of art that accept the present day but remind us, as well, that the past wasn't necessarily worse.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    A romantic comedy so smart and sweetly mature, it's liberating.
  9. Funny but not a comedy, serious but never overbearing, emotional in an engaging and bittersweet way, Good Bye, Lenin! is a wonderful film unto itself about a world unto itself.
  10. 80
    Marvelously entertaining, and occasionally brilliant, political satire.
  11. Wolfgang Becker's premise is absurdist and makes great sense as political satire.
  12. 75
    It is not a step-by-step chronicle of German reunification, but it gives a perspective of the time. It's a bonus that this comes as part of an engrossing and well told story.
  13. It's a tasty but evasive treat, no matter what your taste in politics or movies.
  14. 75
    A comedy, but a peculiar one. Peculiar, because it never quite addresses the self-deception which causes Christiane to support the communist regime in the first place.
  15. 75
    There's a strange, bittersweet melancholy in watching the protagonists of Good Bye, Lenin! being buffeted about by change, but refusing to let go of each other.
  16. 70
    Relies heavily on strong performances from Brühl and Sass to make the illusion believable.
  17. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    This triumph of historical verisimilitude in the service of solid storytelling requires no detailed knowledge of the period to be appreciated as the moving story of a son's unconditional love for his mother.
  18. 70
    Surprisingly successful blend of goofy political farce and sober family drama.
  19. 70
    Director Becker and his sharp screenwriter, Bernd Lichtenberg, come less to bury communism than to hurl darts at the Western commodity culture that floods East Berlin.
  20. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    Goodbye, Lenin! is often drab--the color is washed out, the lighting flat. Yet the movie is sweetly enjoyable as a sardonic elegy for a dream that went bust. [8 March 2004, p. 92]
  21. With light-hearted wit, compassion for its characters and artful attention to detail, the film is winningly funny and humane.
  22. 70
    Becker handles the film's comedy with fluency.
  23. 63
    There are many funny lines and situations, accompanied by strong performances all around. Sadly, Good Bye Lenin! falters at the end, when it loses its edge and lapses into sentimentality.
  24. It's mainly a hunt for ironies, usually playful but occasionally poignant, and the search is definitely successful enough to merit our attention -- although maybe not the two-hour running time.
  25. 60
    Overlong and a bit tiresome but it's actually about something.
  26. 60
    It's a sweet family dramedy whose political undertones don't flatter either capitalism or "democratic socialism."
  27. 60
    When the movie got serious again at the end I wasn't buying, though the whole endeavor is helped along by an appealing cast.
  28. Will richly award locals with sly in-jokes and a wonderful comic performance by Bruhl. Non-Germans will certainly get the essence of the humor but may find the movie long and repetitive.
  29. 50
    Much too long. It starts to feel like a flabby, dramatic version of the first "Austin Powers" movie, another exercise in living anachronism as a storytelling device. By the time the picture's final note about German reunification is struck, "Lenin!" has raised a wall of indifference for the audience.
  30. Combination of comedy and gravity is certainly common enough, but it requires a sure hand and perceptible intent. This screenplay has some neat touches, but it never makes up its mind.
  31. The film seems overlong and drawn out, with variations on the same joke occurring throughout. Although the performances are good, the nostalgia for the past seems quaint in the new "have it your way" Burger King world.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. DidierR.
    Oct 7, 2005
    Awesome!! I loved this film...OST with Yann Tiersen.... GREAT.
  2. May 3, 2015
    For every country there is a film, or several films, which truly represent their country of origin – for example “Amélie” for France, orFor every country there is a film, or several films, which truly represent their country of origin – for example “Amélie” for France, or perhaps the James Bond series for Britain. In my opinion, the film “Good Bye, Lenin!” fills this space for Germany, not only because of its historical setting.

    This film contains one of Daniel Brühl’s earliest roles as Alex – later, he featured in such films as Inglorious Basterds and Rush. His portrayal of his character in this film, however, is only one part of a fantastic cast – particularly notable are Katrin Sass (who was already a well-known actress before Germany’s reunification) as Alex and Ariane’s bedridden mother Christiane, and Burghart Klaussner as their father Robert. The powerful portrayals of every character in this film, collectively, are one of the main reasons why this film is so believable. The feelings shown give a sense of immersion – you’re right there with Alex through all the confusion, happiness, pride and sadness.

    The film is set directly before and after the reunification of Germany, however this historical setting is merely a background which supports the real plot – and said plot is a delicious mix of humour, drama and tension as Alex attempts to recreate the GDR for his mother, and also learns through this what his mother actually believed in – not necessarily the GDR’s government, but socialism as an ideal. In that sense the film touches on the “Ostalgia” which many former east Germans felt after the fall of the Wall by showing a different, rarely-seen perspective of the reunification, not only through Alex and his experiences, but also with the others who were once respected, but who are now out of work and feel worthless as a result – this serves to make the historical setting even more believable. Perhaps one could also say that Christiane serves as a metaphor for this “ostalgia”, in that she is kept in the past by Alex, and doesn’t realise that the GDR no longer exists as a result.

    All in all, “Good Bye, Lenin!” is not only a masterpiece of film, but also a wonderful culturl achievement. Original, exciting and tragic, it could possibly be described as the German Film of the 21st century.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 17, 2015
    a big and strong story that remind us the truth of what happen' in Europe. The way that the story was told was the best and made this moviea big and strong story that remind us the truth of what happen' in Europe. The way that the story was told was the best and made this movie something fabulous and something great! Full Review »