Germany's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards (it didn’t make the cut) is an unyielding Cold War drama set in East Germany, 1980. Barbara (Nina Hoss), a capable young doctor, is sentenced to a small town clinic after an application for an exit visa results in her being booted from Berlin. No one except her West German lover (Mark Waschke) — they’re planning on defecting together — is to be trusted, not even a seemingly sincere co-worker (Ronald Zehrfeld), who could be compiling a file on her for the Stossi. Barbara is not another flimsily constructed propagandistic docudrama; director Christian Petzold (Jerichow) expertly sustains dramatic tension while smuggling in his political agenda. Hoss’s performance as the pent-up medico is a stunning exercise in self-control, and the clincher packs an electrifying wallop. Well worth your time. 2012.

4.0 stars

— Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

Comments

GWH March 13, 2013 @ 6:19 p.m.

Thanks for recommending this, Scott. With a power outage in our neighborhood, Susan and I went out for dinner & a film and luckily chose this on your say so. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Susan particularly liked it so much, saying it was a such good performance from the leading actress, with a tense bitterness and the gradual feeling developing for the doctor and then of course the remarkable ending.

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