Top positive review
A funny, moving little import that sidesteps shortcomings...
on June 3, 2004
If you're a sucker for the ethereal, transcendent music of Yann Tiersen (Amelie), then you'll be drooling within the first minute of this warm, endearing import that sidesteps a few minor issues to be a sweet look at family, dedication, and Socialism. Daniel Bruhl stars as Alex Kerner, a young man (19ish) who had lived under the Socialist uprising within Germany, pre-Wall falling. The reason: his mother was a hardcore comrade, and right before Socialism dies, she falls into a coma and wakes up after Democracy has set in. The problem: she can't have any huge emotional trauma or she'll croak. So the stage is set for an often-hilarious little farce that guides the movie through plenty of physical comedy, wild setups, but an unfortunately long third act that could have used some trimming. I doth protest too much - Lenin is a sweet film that is much a silly farce as a look at the lengths a son will go to save his mother and an examination of post-dissolution Germany. The movie seems like it's all mapped out in the beginning, but by the nostalgic finale, it has gone in some unexpected places and developed characters that seem insignificant at first (especially an early subplot of Alex having the hots for a nurse, whom he soon dates - a refreshing twist for once). It's the kind of movie, much like Amelie, that will have you walking out of the theater smiling and forgetting its shortcomings. If a third-act subplot of a long-lost father had been excised from the movie, I'd be going nuts about it. As is, I'm still elated from seeing this enjoyable foreign film. GRADE: B+