2004 by Tony Medley
The past two years
have seen a plethora of familial relationship films. Father and son,
daughter and mother. Now we have son and mother. Of all of them, this is
by far the best.
Alex (Daniel Bruhl)
lives in East Berlin with his mother, Christine Kerner (Katrin Sass),
and sister, Ariane (Maria Simon). Christine is loyal to the East German
Communist Party. In1989 as she sees Alex arrested in an uprising, she
has a serious heart attack and goes into a coma, where she remains for
eight months. When she comes out of it, her world has changed. The Wall
has fallen and there is no more Communist East Germany. Her doctor tells
Alex that her health is fragile. With this knowledge Alex feels it would
be life threatening for her to learn that the Cold War was over and they
had lost, so he ensconces her in her room and pretends that nothing has
husband, Alexís father, Robert Kerner (Burghart Klaussner),
mysteriously disappeared into the west many years ago when Alex and
Ariane were children. His absence puts the responsibility for his mother
squarely on Alexís shoulders, as his sister doesnít seem overly
enthusiastic about going along with Alexís plan, although she does.
Itís a dubious
premise, and the film is far too long, two minutes short of two hours.
But Sass does such a spellbinding job of acting, along with Bruhl, that
the film is touching and poignant. At the end of the film, when
Christine looks at Alex, she has such love in her eyes that it will take
a hard person, indeed, to keep dry eyes.
The lengths to which
Alex goes to protect his mother strain your credulity, but his love for
his mother is touching. This is slow, but the acting is good and the
bond of love thatís established between son and mother is rewarding to
February 3, 2004