Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 26, 2013
    Lore is a rare, wonderful film that works not just as surface entertainment, but has deeper historical meaning, as well as an even grander, more universal statement.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Boone
    Feb 13, 2013
    Lore belongs in the inspiration-and-control camp. It makes dizzying flourishes out of moments that would pass as filler in other films.
  3. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 9, 2013
    It’s a remarkable accomplishment.
  4. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Feb 7, 2013
    Shortland, whose only previous feature was 2004's coming-of-age drama "Somersault," creates a visceral, immersive environment and draws a very impressive performance from newcomer Saskia Rosendahl.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Feb 7, 2013
    The film sustains an air of overarching mystery in which the viewer, like the title character, is in the position of a sheltered child plunked into an alien environment and required to fend for herself without a map or compass.
  6. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Mar 14, 2013
    By the end of their arduous journey, Lore and her siblings are changed. But it's the kind of change that will take years, perhaps generations, to understand, to heal.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 7, 2013
    I’m not sure Lore holds up to repeated viewings — Shortland’s style is so feverish it could quickly turn precious — but it demands to be seen at least once.
  8. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Feb 8, 2013
    The climax Shortland offers us is much harder to take than Seiffert's gentler vision, yet far more evocative of the bitter price paid by the children of the Third Reich for the sins of their parents.
  9. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    May 8, 2013
    The images captured by cinematographer Adam Arkapaw are more dreamy than nightmarish as if his camera — like the children — doesn't fully understand the dangers.
  10. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Feb 13, 2013
    This striking, slow-building drama from Cate Shortland uses fractured, impressionistic imagery as a mirror of moral dislocation as the children make their way through an unfamiliar landscape.
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    May 17, 2013
    World War II dramas might be common enough, but, amid them all, Lore stands as an uncommon entry in the genre.
  12. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    Feb 22, 2013
    Australian director Cate Shortland's drama is overflowing with such poetic visual touches, conjuring up a fairytale landscape of long shadows, wafting curtains and waving fronds.
  13. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Feb 16, 2013
    This oblique and understated tale of lost innocence conveys both an individual’s experiences and a powerful sense of a ruined nation.
  14. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Feb 7, 2013
    At its heart Lore qualifies as a coming-of-age story, but it is far from the ones we usually see.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Mar 14, 2013
    With a child’s perspective on war, Lore deserves comparisons with “Empire of the Sun” and “Hope and Glory,” and with a feisty female protagonist it stands virtually alone.
  16. Reviewed by: Leba Hertz
    Feb 28, 2013
    Rosendahl brings a wonderful innocence and burgeoning sexual awakening to the role, while still evincing inner strength and complexity. In her unconscious attempts to regain her soul, Lore pays the ultimate price as she discovers the stink of who she and her family and her country had become.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 8, 2013
    Saskia Rosendahl is a highly expressive actress within the limited confines of her character, and the film is studded with memorable scenes.
  18. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Feb 7, 2013
    Lore is the sort of movie you’d already expect to rip your heart out, but that doesn’t diminish the tragedy when it does arrive.
  19. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 6, 2013
    If nothing else, Shortland gives Rosendahl a star-making platform on par with Cornish’s in "Somersault": She’s a magnetic screen presence who subtly conveys not only the struggle and guilt inherent to her situation, but also a residue of hate that’s carried over from her parents. The actor, like her character, shoulders a heavy burden.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 7, 2013
    The pace is deliberate, verging on slow — Australian filmmakers aren't keen on short takes or quick cuts — but the content is constantly surprising.
  21. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Feb 5, 2013
    Shortland draws fine work from her actors, particularly the haunting Rosendahl, who manages to seem by turns a perfectly unbending Nazi youth, a frightened little girl forced to grow up too quickly, and a sensuous young woman bursting into bloom.
  22. Reviewed by: Richard Kuipers
    Feb 1, 2013
    Lore offers a fresh, intimate and mostly successful perspective on Germany's traumatic transition from conqueror nation to occupied state.
  23. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Mar 6, 2013
    Although there are moments that push the story a bit beyond credulity, Shortland has created something remarkable by forcing us to find within ourselves sympathy for this would-be Aryan princess.
  24. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Feb 7, 2013
    While a film of great craft, strongly performed by the cast across the board, and particulary by the lead, newcomer Saskia Rosendahl, Lore never lets the audience in close enough for it to be a truly embraceable picture.
  25. 63
    An engrossing but frustrating movie, so subtle in its depiction of a teenager struggling to come to terms with a world and worldview utterly upended that it almost trivializes the tragedy that Lore, we suspect, is just beginning to feel responsible for.
  26. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    Feb 6, 2013
    Copious amounts of landscape and wilderness shots cover up its schematic plot, as its indirect visual allusions take precedence over thematic development.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. Jul 12, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. One minute, the bigot in the bar, holding court at a table full of enabling friends, regales angrily about being passed over for a promotion to a Jew(because "I'm better than a Jew," he says), and then the next minute, in Time Out(from The Twilight Zone: The Movie), the bigot stands outside the tavern, staring out at Nazi-era Germany. The door, now a transmogrified wall, marks the beginning of a fever dream, in which the bigot pinballs between Berlin and Vietnam, learning firsthand about being "the other" in the midst of a pogrom. Ultimately, the American is forcibly escorted onto a train headed for Auschwitz, where he will, no doubt, burn in a crematorium. Not so dissimilar to Time Out, an unnamed journalist, the wife of a Nazi soldier, in A Woman in Berlin, also over drinks, albeit at a swankier affair and setting(a party at a hotel), likewise, denigrates the Jews, but implicitly. Even worse than pontificating about the inferiority of the Jewish people through slurs, they go unmentioned, in which she advocates the ongoing holocaust by asking for "a moment of silence", a heartfelt testimonial to honor the "brave" young men fighting across the European expanse. Six million dead later, the quietly anti-Semitic woman takes a walk in her enemy's shoes, as the film expands on Time Out's idea of comeuppance for racists, when she finds herself being raped by a Russian soldier and the ensuing ironic humiliation, upon the dawning that this basest of all subjugations is the Red Army's prerogative. The film itself is a reveal, that epiphanic moment when the audience has to reorientate themselves to the narrative's time and place, that climaxing reversal of fortune which characterizes The Twilight Zone occurs, here, instead at the outset, since the bombed-out buildings and the abounding detritus of war, with a start, we realize, doesn't belong to Krakow. It's a ghetto all right, but it's Berlin's ghetto. That's the twist. Continuing where Downfall left off, in Lore(adapted from Rachel Seiffert's triptych novel The Dark Room), the German side, once again, is given the agency, which to the controversy of some, humanizes the Nazi Party by precluding Jews from the narrative, a schematic necessity since the casual cruelty inflicted on the Polish citizenry, as seen in past films, would make it impossible for the audience to contemplate on the suffering that Germany endured in post-war Europe. What should we feel when Gunter, the son of a Nazi commandant, is gunned down beneath the foliage of trees? Unlike the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music, Lore and her siblings are far from being naifs; their father is too close to Hitler's inner circle, and in fact, are collaborators, when during the evacuation sequence, we see them destroying documents alongside their parents, war criminals both. The restraint that Lore displays after Vater shoots the dog in cold blood is a restraint born out of Hitler Youth-taught ideology, which empoisons her mind with the concept of Aryan superiority over non-Aryans and animals alike. Hiding out in the Black Forest, the proud family makes no pretense of assimilation among the pastoral folks, presenting themselves as superior to the apolitical farmers, conveyed through their fancy dress and having the means to pay for comestibles. It's a crucifix, not the party symbol, a swastika, that affixes the side of a family's modest house. Lore and the beloved Julie Andrews musical, perhaps, not so coincidentally, share a common character name: Liesl, since the moving afterimage of these children journeying by foot towards Hamburg recalls the Von Trapp clan's hilly landscaped escape to Switzerland while "Climb Every Mountain" plays over the soundtrack. Aware of such iconography, the filmmaker includes a brief song interlude, turning Lore ephemerally into a parodical anti-musical, when the twins, Gunter and Jurgen, perform a war song that exhorts nationalism to an old woman, a fervent Hitler supporter. Do they understand the words? Yes. Gunter died thinking that Tomas, a camp survivor who provides safe passage across a reapportioned Germany, was one of them, a Nazi. Jurgen, in showing his sister the wallet he stole from Tomas, reveals that he too knows about the camps, repeating Tomas' words: "The man was a Jew. He was dead anyway," words that Tomas used to explain how the yellow star would help him deal with Americans. The theft protects Tomas from Oma. In the documentary Hitler's Children, author Niklas Frank explains how he executes his parents anew at every one of his public readings. Like Lore, the son of a Polish Governor-General was no innocent. Conversely, like Niklas, the duped young woman severs ties with her Nazi past, in the form of smashing a beloved deer figurine belonging to Mutti, which she smashes to smithereens with the heel of her shoe. But what about the other three? Niklas' siblings never repented. Will they? Full Review »
  2. May 18, 2013
    Very well made film with a refreshing take on WWII. The strongest element of the film is how it is shot, there is beauty found in every frame.Very well made film with a refreshing take on WWII. The strongest element of the film is how it is shot, there is beauty found in every frame. The story moves along at a good pace, filled with tension. Performances are good, especially from a mostly young cast, however the central character of Lore, played excellently by Saskia Lumenthal, was quite frustrating; there were moments where she needed a kick up the backside. Ultimately though, this is an impressive film. Full Review »
  3. Apr 7, 2013
    This movie plods along and is very frustrating. Probably historically authentic poorly done writing and direction. This movie tries to showThis movie plods along and is very frustrating. Probably historically authentic poorly done writing and direction. This movie tries to show the dilemma between Nazi Germany and Jews, but can't seem to get out of its own way. I left the theater thinking I will never get this time back... Full Review »