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Lovers are liars

Andrew Harley

Tall tales, fibs, daydreams. The realm of make-believe can seem so transient, like an arm-flapping sunset flight through clouds or the quickly-forgotten alarm over a light-hearted prank. The grand fiction Alex Kerner (Daniel Bruhl) creates for his mother in “Good bye, Lenin!” has a foundation, a historically-rooted, relatively rigid base in East German society during its collapse.Christiane Kerner (Katrin Sass) is the embodiment of East Germany as she collapses of a heart attack shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She suffers the heart attack when she sees her son, Alex, arrested in the midst of a protest against the regime, and she falls into a coma. During Christiane’s coma, East Germany crumbles, and, when she re-awakens, doctors advise Alex not to expose her to anything that will excite or distress her. Alex realizes the extent of his mother’s investment in her society, and decides to re-create the illusion that nothing has happened to East Germany as she is bed-ridden in her apartment.The illusion consumes Alex, who inherited his mother’s utter idealism, and affects his relationships.Despite staggering burdens and choking tragedies, “Good bye, Lenin!” is an all-around love story, regarding every character. There’s the deceitfully poignant relationship between Alex and his mother. A heartwarming and underdeveloped relationship between Alex and his mother’s nurse, Lara.

What might have been a calculated comedic side story between Alex and his sister’s boyfriend, Rainer, becomes a lively, sometimes heated, but usually hilarious space for a breather amidst the heavy reality of Alex’s fictions.The film runs on a timeline, beginning with the first East German cosmonaut’s liftoff toward space, and the bulk of the scenes occur around the major dates marking East Germany’s demise.”Good bye, Lenin!” has a finely-crafted plot, peppered with irony and a frequent use of symbolism. The film flows smoothly, for the most part, and will leave some in tears and will give many a refreshing catharsis.Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext.610, or at aharley@vaildaily.com.


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