Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
Watch On
  1. 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.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 245 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 71
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 71
  3. Negative: 2 out of 71
  1. 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 Full Review »
  2. DenizY
    Sep 14, 2008
    10
    One of the best and most powerful films I've seen in a long time. Takes a highly interesting time and transforms it into a mere backdrop One of the best and most powerful films I've seen in a long time. Takes a highly interesting time and transforms it into a mere backdrop for an amazing performance by the actors. The only shameful part of the movie is that the English translations are pure crap, and close to nothing what is actually being said. I'm not talking about literal translation, I mean you get a completely different idea of what is going on if you don't speak German and have to follow the subtitles. PS - The LA Weekly critic has it's head up you know where... The director / writer of this movie was not trying to say the people in the Stasi were just following orders. He was trying to show they are humans too. In the beginning, the main character who works for the Stasi was 100% loyal to the State, and later becomes more human from spying on these people, realizing he has no life. Typical Americans and their hubris, overshadowing the true meaning of things. And that's coming from a fellow American. Full Review »
  3. BruceC.
    Aug 5, 2007
    10
    One of the most powerful and affecting films ever to take the viewer inside the minds of the perpetrators of oppression. Brilliantly One of the most powerful and affecting films ever to take the viewer inside the minds of the perpetrators of oppression. Brilliantly constructed, avoiding predictability and cliche the denouement is extraordinarily moving and insightful. Full Review »