Anonyma - Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Anonyma - Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 14, 2010
What a well done movie! This is a side of war that I never realized existed. I really do love movies based around Nazi Germany, and I am finding that there are many more that I havent seen via the foreign film genre.
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2009
With the recent success of The Reade, the notion of a German woman receiving empathy from an audience is kind of the hot issue. Especially if that German woman is portrayed to be, or have been, a Nazi sympathizer. Well, enter A Woman in Berlin.

In this real-life story (inspired by the anonymous writings of a journalist woman who lived in the conquered city of Belin during the final stages of the war,) is a true work of art and storytelling. It's inspired and striking all at once. No screenwriter, however clever or prominent, could have ever been able to come up with a story so divisive and emotionally manipulative. No, only real life could have concocted such a miserably cold and true depiction of event rarely portrayed in film.

Our anonymous woman takes us on a journey through her world, and the world of those remaining in Berlin during the end of Hitler's Germany. In essence, we see that the remaining civilians (comprised primarily of seniors, young children and the so-called "weaker" sex) were victimized brutally by the invading (or should it read: liberating) forces of the Red Army (Russia.) Furthermore, it is with brilliant efficacy that our anonymous writer conveys that is was these women who were the remaining soldier's on the front lines of Germany's scarred urban battlefields.

We meet our protagonist in an era before the height of war. We meet her in a time in history where we may presume her to be a sympathizer of hate and prejudice. She is vibrant and idealistic about the future of her country, blindly subscribing to manipulative ideas and philosophies that were shrouded in a blanket of national pride.

Flash forward to a time where misery prevails and the tables are turned. Many themes are evident in this film and is reveals and unravels itself slowly, yet efficiently -- like the speed at which a woman sheepishly undresses for her male predator moments before her body's inevitable ravaging.

Obviously, the plight of women is magnificently portrayed in this film. More specifically: the dismal day-to-day living of the German women who were to be punished for the wrong-doings of their country's leaders, none of whom they'd ever met.

Defenseless and battered, the women must fend for themselves as their remaining men find themselves spirited away to Siberia or worse for the crimes that their father have committed. It is with great success that other shades are painted around what is considered to be right and wrong in times of war.

The are a myriad moral subtexts to be gathered. Namely, who is the liberator and what does liberating mean? How do you avoid succumbing to the thirst with which revenge nags? What lines must be crossed or avoided in order to keep yourself from becoming the very essence of the hate you've hoped to extinguish?

Ultimately, as we learn from our anonymous heroine, such judgments are irrelevant when your only goal in life is to remain attached to life itself. Your perception of the world and its concepts can never remain in your mind unscathed or unblemished. That way of seeing the world will always be altered and affected by the events that transpire in it. Therefore, the way you love; the way you fight; the way you live will never be the same again.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2009
"A Woman in Berlin," written and directed by Max Farberbock and starring the great Nina Hoss, is a treasure. Most immediately it is about the epidemic of rape that the women of Berlin suffered at the hands of the invading Soviet Army in 1945. But it also opens up to become an infinitely complex meditation on warfare and the unique feelings of excitement and dread that accompany the downfall of one world and its replacement by another. It also nobly tries to reckon with the particular rivalry and comradeship that for centuries has marked the collisions of German-speaking and Russian-speaking Europeans. Bravo to Herr Farberbock, an artist of singular courage.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2009
Based on a controversial memoir, "A Woman in Berlin" is a harrowing piece of history that is rarely discussed. Its only serious drawback is the inclusion of a love triangle or two which uncomfortably pushes the movie into soap opera territory.

"A Woman in Berlin" starts on April 26, 1945 as Soviet troops are advancing through a Berlin populated mostly by women and old men who are nervous at the possibility of the advancing troops seeking revenge for Nazi atrocities. One Soviet unit is frustrated by not being allowed to advance to the Reichstag and start out by holding a block party in the streets while awaiting further orders. Things quickly turn bad for the citizens when raids are made into the apartment buildings to rape the women.(One of the scariest moments in the film involves a quiet conversation about syphilis around the dinner table.) Inside of one is a journalist(Nina Hoss) who has lived in London, Paris and Moscow and drawn back by patriotism to her native Berlin while her husband Gerd(August Diehl) is serving in the army. Her Russian is good enough to communicate and she is knowledgeable enough to recognize rank to find Andrei(Yevgeni Sidikhin), a major, to cut a deal for protection but he refuses to help. So, she works her way down the food chain to Anatol(Roman Gribkov), a lieutenant, who comes and goes as he pleases. To her, this is not rape, maybe prostitution. However, it is still rape, even without the violence, because she has no choice not to have sex. Whatever the case, the women have nothing to be ashamed of. It is the men who do.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2009
Eine Frau in Berlin was the story of diary found many years later of an anonymous woman who wrote her life during the end of WWII and the Soviet invasion in Berlin in 1945. During this time she and some residents of Berlin were brutally treated by the Russians. To survive this nightmare,she entered a relationship with the Russian leader.The leading role was perfectly performed by German actress Nina Hoss and the rest of the cast was German & Russian actors who really lived up to their roles. This true story gave an interesting sight of WWII specially how these women lived within a world in which they were raped daily by the soldiers.
½ November 18, 2015
well crafted WWII pic post WWII really intense bummer theatre about life during wartime from a female perspective which is very grim.
½ February 19, 2013
A well made movie based on real-life events. Despite being rather long, it seemed a bit lacking in character development, or at least elaborating a little more on their motivations. The way the main characters were portrayed, it was hard to feel much sympathy for either of them.
½ May 13, 2012
A clear-eyed portrait of a highly charged chapter in Germany's history, a history that once again proves rewarding fodder for an alert artistic imagination.
February 13, 2011
What this movie proved to me is that there are never complete innocent or guilty people. Even the ones considered on the good side by history are guilty of horrible things and the ones considered bad sometimes are also victims themselves. I love it when movies can handle topics like WWII and not be totally self-righteous about it.
March 31, 2010
War can be hard on men, but brutal to women and children. War time rape has gotten some notable attention in recent years in the aftermath of the bloody wars that occurred in Africa and the Balkans during the 90s. The subject of the rape of German women by Soviet soldiers and officers during the late stages and in the aftermath of the war has been for a long time a taboo to talk about in Germany, especially in the eastern portion. This book, first published anonymously in the late 50s was greeted by a wave of outrage and denouncements and any further publications in the country were abandoned. As with many other issues concerning the brutality of mankind's most terrible war, as time passes and as new generations are born, the old taboos become new topics of conversation and discussion, if still discomforting.

Upwards of 2 million German women/girls (from 8 up) were raped as Soviet troops entered into what was once East Prussia. The psychological and physical damage that came with these rapes were horrendous. As with Bosnia in the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars, abortion rates in Germany skyrocketed as did cases of STD (syphilis becomes a serious worry among the women, and Russian troops, in the film). Ofcourse in the eastern side this was not something that was paid much attention to historiography since the Soviets were considered to be honorable liberators and the reality of a mass of rapists could not quite conform with the propaganda.

The film deals with the subject just as it should be dealt: through the eyes of a woman, and only a woman. One would imagine a person completely destroyed, with no sense of hope; and yet the protagonist, alongside the other women, do find ways to cope with the situation. At one rather disturbing point they find humor in discussing the various "lovers" they have picked up, even criticizing their "lack of originality".
March 26, 2010
True-life diary brought to life with verisimilitude and insight

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'A Woman in Berlin' is set in the last days of World War II as the Soviet Army wreaks vengeance upon the German civilian population following their invasion of the German capital. The main recipient of the soldiers' wrath are the women of Berlin who they end up raping in great numbers. The focus of the movie is one woman, Anonyma, who attempts to survive in the midst of great degradation and humiliation. 'A Woman in Berlin' is based on the a true-life anonymous diary which was published in West Germany in 1959. At that time, the diary created a scandal, where the German public could not accept the graphic descriptions of women as rape victims. The author withdrew her work from publication for approximately four decades until it was republished and accepted by a new generation of Germans.

At the beginning of the film, in a flashback, we see Anonyma in her earlier life as a journalist and unrepentant supporter of the Nazi cause. After the Soviet invasion, Anonyma takes refuge in an apartment building where she's given shelter by an older woman. In one harrowing scene after another, the brutish Russian soldiers raid the apartment building and seek out their female victims. Some women are dragged off the street and raped in dark hallways or alleyways. Unlike the other residents of her building, Anonyma speaks Russian and at first attempts to appeal to someone in charge to stop the brutality. When she approaches one officer and asks to speak to someone in charge, he asks, who do you want to speak to?we're all commanders here. When she finally gets to speak to an officer, he asks her why she's so upset, indifferently and nonchalantly pointing out that the rapes only take a few minutes.

After Anonyma is raped herself, she's determined not to be violated again. She first seeks out a lower ranking soldier, Anatol, as a protector but then moves on to Major Andrei Rybkin who is educated like her and they end up forming a bond together. Meanwhile, as the Russian Army gains more control, the residents of the apartment building begin forming more of a relationship with their occupiers. The Russians come off as more complex as they first appear especially in regards to their interactions with the apartment residents.

The détente between the two groups is shattered when a Russian soldier discovers that a young woman, a Nazi sympathizer, has been shielding a young German Solder who is in possession of a gun and a hand grenade. The Russian solder throws the German over the stairway landing and he plunges to his death, stories below. When Anonyma admits that she was aware that the couple had been hiding in the attic, the Major refuses to bring her up on charges. The Major is castigated by his men and eventually he is removed from his command and either sent to Siberia or executed (it's not clear what is his exact fate).

The film ends when Anonyma's soldier-boyfriend returns from the front and she gives him her diary to read (she has been addressing it to him, all along). The boyfriend wants nothing to do with Anonyma as he ashamed that she was raped. The implication is that she allowed herself to be subjected to the humiliation and is now forever, a 'marked woman'. The boyfriend takes off, leaving Anonyma to fend for herself. I question how the boyfriend could have ended up back home without being taken into custody by the Russians, who were rounding up all ex-soldiers and shipping them off to imprisonment in the Soviet Union.

'A Woman in Berlin' commendably handles the rape scenes in a matter-of-fact way. There is nothing salacious about these depictions as the focus is more on how the women maintain their dignity in the face of all the depravity. Oftentimes, the women use humor to brunt the feelings of pain and humiliation?other times they express detached objectivity (one woman greets a friend on the street and asks, "how many?")

The film does suggest a number of times that there is a reason for the Russian soldiers' brutish behavior. A German woman tells another that had the Russians did what (our) soldiers did to them, "we would all be dead by now". In another good scene, Anonyma is called upon to translate a Russian soldier's account of the massacre of his family by Germans. And finally, it's revealed that Andrei's own wife was killed by German soldiers. Still, some kind of prologue at the beginning of the film, chronicling the extent the German atrocities committed against the Russian population, would have put things more in its proper context. While the rape of German women by the Russian soldiers was deplorable, the film could have made the soldiers' motivations for doing so, more understandable.

'A Woman in Berlin' is a bit long and sometimes it's difficult to follow everything that's happening. All in all, this is an admirable film, depicting a little talked about period in history with verisimilitude and insight.
½ December 6, 2009
This is another brilliant look at the horrors of war. It is a movie about what someone would do to survive a catastrophic situation - i.e. the Russian occupation of Berlin towards the end of WWII. The women caught in Berlin by the invading Russian army become sexual toys to their captors. This movie was based on a autobiographical book by someone who never revealed her name due to the response the book received after publication. Sitting safely in their homes, Germans refused to believe that German women would "do" such things. What I find most intriguing about movies like this is that I wonder what my response to a calamity would be and what I would do to survive. I also would never judge someone for their behavior in a horrific environment. I have never liked war nor understood it and movies like this confirm again why I will never support one...........
½ November 11, 2009
Non stop rape by Russian soldiers of German women. The most horrific movie I've ever seen. I fast forwarded hoping it would stop.
November 9, 2009
I saw this movie at the Rochester Film Festival This past year and voted it my #1 selection of the festival. This is an unbelievable story that if I wasn't told was true I wouldn't believe it. I will be getting this on the 10th to see it again.
July 15, 2009
(Ok, I'm being lazy and just using an email I sent to a friend regarding my thoughts on this movie instead of writing a brand new review.) Having known and researched what happened in China and South East Asia due to the Japanese occupation and rape, this movie was mild in comparison. I do agree with the reviewer that there was alot of "nothing" going around, but it was therefore a very accurate slice of life from the narrators' point of view as if we were a fly on her coat seeing only what she sees.

I'm not necessarily sure "morality" is turned upside down as the reviewer suggests, as its a matter of survival. The narrator was gifted with the talent of languages, and she used that to her own advantage. To me, it seemed that the older women who lived in the same flat as she took advantage of the "favors" she was giving out to reap the benefits she earned, mainly safety and plenty of food.

I liked this film in that it represented the horrors of war from all sides and didn't vilify one side in order to make our narrator more sympathetic or tragic. The movie did a good job of humanizing the horror of surviving a war on all those involved.

The one issue that makes this film so very unique is something that the reviewer touched on briefly, but didnt explain in detail to really showcase the context that lends to the films' significance. Its just NOT another rap during war occupation story, no more important/horrific than what other peoples have gone through in different parts of the world.

Post Hitler Germany and the psychology of the generations of Germans that followed deserve explanation. From what I've read and observed from movies (there are two I can vividly remember watching but can't remember the names at this time), it seems that the children and grandchildren of Nazi Germans couldn't understand why their forefathers just couldnt' refuse to go along with the mass crowd/brainwashing. Also there was such a force to push aside that ugly marr of history that no one wanted to acknowledge in depth and accept accountability for the war crimes that took place. One of the movies I saw was about a museum exibit that put forth proof that every day Germans took it upon themselves to brutalize various Eastern European and Jewish populations, that it was indeed NOT just an order given from the high ranks and carried out by the rank and file soldiers. Modern day Germans (time was in the 90's) were extremely uncomfortable with that notion and were rioting against the exhibit. The 2nd film I saw was The Baader-Meinhof Complex which was actually nominated for a Foreign Language Golden Globe this past year. This movie was about the origins and passion of the RAF who were the forefathers of global terrorist acts. They formed in order to rebel against established political authority with the hope of preventing the brainwashing of the Third Reicht of previous generations. So having seen both of these movies and done a bit of reading of the post WWII German psyche, I understand why the timing of release of this movie is so poignant. Else, it just becomes another post war occupation rape and pillage story.
Super Reviewer
½ April 22, 2009
After being raped repeatedly by Soviet soldiers during the postwar occupation of Berlin , a woman decides she has had enough and vows to use her sexuality in her favor to keep herself and her family alive, until she falls in love with a helpful Russian commander. Has shades of Paul Verhoevenâ??s â??Black Book,â?? without the gaudy campiness, â??A Woman in Berlin,â?? which is based on an anonymous memoir, is one of the better recent films to deal with WWII.
½ November 18, 2015
well crafted WWII pic post WWII really intense bummer theatre about life during wartime from a female perspective which is very grim.
April 12, 2015
Movies like that are the reason I love war movies. Beautiful. True story too, which makes it so much more emotional.
½ May 13, 2013
Obezglavljena realnost osvajanja, pobjede, ponosa ...i silovanja koje ide uz to. Nema goreg trenutka za biti zena, nego na strani gubitnika u ogromnom ratu. Bljakavo.
½ November 11, 2009
Harrowing experiences of war
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