Metascore
89

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

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 225 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 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
    It's so full-blooded, smart, sexy, tense and absorbing, so cleverly written and shot and cut, so filled with superb acting and music, so perfect in its closing moment, that it surely ranks with the most impressive debuts in world cinema.
  2. A great film, the best I've seen since Terrence Malick's "The New World," and far and away the richest and most brilliantly acted picture to be released this Oscar season.
  3. 100
    A powerful but quiet film, constructed of hidden thoughts and secret desires.
  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. 88
    Beautifully textured and layered movie.
  6. 88
    With solid performances and a terrific screenplay, this movie offers solid, no-frills drama that feels organic and believable, not contrived.
  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: 66 out of 68
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 68
  3. Negative: 2 out of 68
  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 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 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. AnickP.
    Feb 11, 2007
    10
    A superb film with touching, convincing characters who show that, despite the minister's prediction at the beginning, one can change for the best. A remarquable ending. The film's message is similar to Pan's Labyrinth's, but this movie, in my mind, is superior (though my husband disagrees). A ne pas rater. Expand
  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. once again, its a bit like "we love democracy so much, yeah!!!!!!" Expand

See all 68 User Reviews

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