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  • 4.3
In East Germany, 1980, Barbara Wolff is a talented young doctor who has applied for an exit visa from the German Democratic Republic and, as punishment, has been transferred from her prestigious post in Berlin to a small pediatric hospital in the country. Even though she is constantly aware of the very real shadowy presence of, and overwhelming numbers of Stasi officers chronicling her every move, every waking hour, she arrives at her new post having already planned a series of dangerous assignations with her lover, with whom she plans to escape to the West, to Poland. BARBARA is a story of self-sacrifice and freedom and quiet heroism at a time and place when such values are at a premium. It is also about a healer whose morality and set of personal ethics are being called into questions by circumstances specific to that same time and place in history.

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"...guarded optimism is the soft glow that keeps BARBARA lit from within, like a lantern; Petzold has made a nighttime movie that ends right on the edge of dawn." - Stephanie Zacharek, NPR

3 members like this review

Thanks to Fandor I became an avid Christian Petzold fan. This is another beautiful piece by this wonderful director.

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Member Reviews (13)

top reviewer

Thanks to Fandor I became an avid Christian Petzold fan. This is another beautiful piece by this wonderful director.

3 members like this review

Beautifully subtle.

2 members like this review

Excellent film. I highly recommend it!

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

Barbara,as played by the outstanding Nina Hoss, displays a quiet intensity throughout the oppressive atmosphere of eighties East Germany. Smiles are hard to come by for her and for good reason, paranoia is matter of fact there. The cinematography is first rate here with creative distance shots and close ups of Nina. Barbara serves as a reminder of what was and is all too possible to happen again.

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love Nina Hoss love this film_at least the second time i've seen it_it's really powerful_so fucked up to live under an oppressive government_you feel every moment in this film

top reviewer

A very scary movie. Another jewel of a collaboration of Nina Hoss and Christian Petrold. What is so frightening is to think this truly was the state of affairs In GDR a mere 35 years ago. As a physician, I can't even imagine living in such fear, or practicing such archaic medicine in an era of organ transplants and bypass surgeries.

I was especially struck by the physical violation Barbara has to endure because of her anti-state politics. I would love to believe this view of East Germany is totally fallacious, but knowing Mr Petzold's history, I thing it is probably "right on". A frightening movie that make me so grateful that Germany is unified.

top reviewer

A truly original film worthy of all the praises it has received. Nina Hoss gives a highly effective and restrained performance as the title character who finds herself questioning all of her hopes, desires and dreams when faced with a chance of love. Set against the paranoia and oppression of West Germany in 1980, Petzold creates a quietly intense film that wisely sidesteps many of the political possibilities in favor of the most important element of the political: humanity. Brilliant.

Understated acting, story unfolds at a perfect pace.

an even-handed "thriller" with knobby, protruding details that gradually accumulate into something honest and powerful. the Hoss is of course fabulous

Its great

We were able to see how depressing it was to live in East Germany. The movie had little dialogue., and little action. It was a study in living conditions and the brutality of the East German police.

I love how this film does not insult its audience by filling in all the holes and lets us think for ourselves. Nina Hoss gives a great performance.

Entertaining, but ultimately implausible. This description seems to cover most of Petzold's work.