Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 243 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: At once a political thriller and human drama, The Lives of Others begins in East Berlin in 1984, five years before Glasnost and the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately takes us to 1991, in what is now the reunited Germany. The film traces the gradual disillusionment of Captain GerdAt once a political thriller and human drama, The Lives of Others begins in East Berlin in 1984, five years before Glasnost and the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately takes us to 1991, in what is now the reunited Germany. The film traces the gradual disillusionment of Captain Gerd Wiesler, a highly skilled officer who works for the Stasi, East Germany's all-powerful secret police. (Sony Pictures Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 100
    To watch "Lives" is not just to enjoy a fabulously constructed timepiece; it's to appreciate a deft cautionary tale.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    A tense and tightly plotted fictional thriller is based on real tactics used by the Stasi -- East Germany's secret police force -- to spy on and interrogate their own citizens.
  3. 100
    If there is any justice, this year's Academy Award for best foreign-language film will go to The Lives of Others, a movie about a world in which there is no justice.
  4. Despite the fact that parts of this film remind us of past pictures with comparable themes, the director and his actors make it immediate, gripping.
  5. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    88
    von Donnersmarck delivers something extraordinary and rare: a thriller that's entirely adult in both its concerns and perspective which manages to be as thoroughly gripping as any finely tuned albeit adolescent Hollywood nail-biter.
  6. Works beautifully, both as a social and psychological drama and as a taut, tightly wired thriller.
  7. 50
    The Lives of Others wants us to see that the Stasi -- at least some of them -- were, like their Gestapo brethren, “just following orders." You can call that naive optimism on Donnersmarck's part, or historical revisionism of the sort duly lambasted by the current film version of Alan Bennett's "The History Boys." I, for one, tremble at the thought of what this young director does for an encore.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 71
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 71
  3. Negative: 2 out of 71
  1. JonK
    Dec 16, 2007
    10
    This is a slow paced film with English subtitles. If that turns you off, you may not be aware enough to enjoy it. It requires a certain This is a slow paced film with English subtitles. If that turns you off, you may not be aware enough to enjoy it. It requires a certain understanding of the balls it took to make this film and what it says about Fascism and putting too much power in the hands of a few unchecked individuals. While I certainly enjoy the "Armageddon" or "Independence Day" this movie has stuck with me for more that two months. I found a few minor flaws, none worth mentioning. When you're in the mood to slow down and pay attention to something that matters, this is it. Expand
  2. Steve
    Feb 16, 2009
    10
    Given that I give a 10 once every few years this film must be a stand out and it is perhaps the most human film i have seen. Although Given that I give a 10 once every few years this film must be a stand out and it is perhaps the most human film i have seen. Although harrowing, the setting is secondary but the story universal. The lead character could just as easily be an implement of the Church in Reformation times or a government operative in many a war as it slowly dawns on him that the national values for which he embodys are gone and filled with a perversion. To fulfil what he views as the true values of the country effectively mean treason but a decent man must make a stand. The subject of the surveillance comes to a similar juncture as he too realises that a true patriot doesn Expand
  3. FredR.
    Feb 10, 2007
    10
    An absolutely incredible performance by ulrich muhe(gkw.7) best movie i've seen in years.
  4. SlotkinsQ.
    Aug 25, 2007
    10
    Not overpraised at all. This is one of the best films of our time.
  5. Trevor
    Aug 30, 2008
    10
    Really lives up to its acclaim. A brilliant, engaging film with no discernable flaws.
  6. ArgelX.
    Mar 19, 2007
    9
    Very good, a simple, intense plot. The Stasi officer is great in the role. A little slow for the first half.
  7. anonymous
    Aug 26, 2008
    0
    Shame this film is wrecked by its obvious and heavy handed approach towards the iron curtain countries that it has turned into propaganda. Shame this film is wrecked by its obvious and heavy handed approach towards the iron curtain countries that it has turned into propaganda. once again, its a bit like "we love democracy so much, yeah!!!!!!" Expand

See all 71 User Reviews

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