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Review: Good Bye Lenin!

Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp? You can keep them. I'd choose Daniel Bruhl any day, and he's at his most adorable in this amazing German cult hit. There are few films more moving and it's very funny too. The whole idea is so cleverly thought out with endearing characters and a real sense of unstoppable familial love - Bruhl's character Alexander will do quite literally anything for his ill mother. When she has a heart attack and falls into a coma for 8 months, during which the Berlin wall falls and East and West Germany are reunited, Alex shows the extent of his dedication by making sure his socialist mother doesn't find out that capitalism and the West is rapidly taking over her beloved East Germany, to protect her from the shock which may cause her illness to worsen.

At first his plan is simple. He ensures that her bedroom looks exactly like it did before the coma and hopes that she will be better by the time she finds out what's happened. However, as capitalism takes hold in the East it becomes more and more difficult to hide, with a Coca Cola sign being displayed outside her window, Eastern brands of food becoming nearly impossible to find and a walk outside while Alex is sleeping leads his mother to see the old statue of Lenin being taken away by helicopter! Alex creates many schemes to protect his mother and explain these strange events, even employing his co-worker Denis to pretend to be a newsreader and the first German in space, Sigmund Jahn (who is now a taxi driver, but not in real life) to pretend to be the new German president!

If you're not used to foreign-language films this is a great starting point because it's just so lovely with humour and emotion which in fact transcends language and culture barriers. It's also a great insight into German culture and modern history. If you enjoy this you should also look for similar German films The Edukators (also stars Daniel Bruhl) and What To Do In Case Of Fire (Was Tun, Wenn's Brennt? in German), which is another fun and thought-provoking film set in Berlin.