Barbara Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2012
'Barbara'. A surprisingly sweet-natured story on giving up "freedom" for happiness. Was expecting a psychological breakdown :/
Super Reviewer
½ May 6, 2012
A subtle romance of historical context, blending love and politics in an engaging story that also explores the curious contrast between the vivid landscape of East Germany's countryside and the sad universe the protagonist is forced to dwell in.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2012
Dr. Barbara Wolff(Nina Hoss) has been transferred to a hospital in the provinces in East Germany in 1980 against her wishes. In return, she has no intention of giving her Stasi minder Klaus Schutz(Rainer Bock) nor anybody else the satisfaction of thinking they have won. That extends to not eating with any of her fellow doctors. However, she still has to work with them, as she correctly diagnoses Stella(Jasna Fritzi Bauer), a young woman in trouble with the law, with meningitis, thus greatly impressing Dr. Andre Reiser(Ronald Zehrfeld), one of her colleagues. So instead of sitting around her sparse apartment all day in her bathrobe, Barbara decides to fix her bicycle and go for a day trip in the country which her minders have a problem with when they lose track of her for several hours.

First off, Nina Hoss is one of the best actors working today and certainly does not disappoint with her latest performance in "Barbara," succeeding in playing a difficult character. And I also liked how the movie gradually reveals Barbara's backstory while featuring perhaps my favorite scene of the year where Dr. Reiser dissects the Rembrandt painting in his office. That's not to mention all of the random details of life in East Germany that help to complete the picture. Sadly, the story is pure cliche, filled with contrivances, and filed under the city doctor going to the country and being surprised by what she finds.(I've never seen "Doc Hollywood," so I'll go with "Northern Exposure" instead. And I guess this is proof that "House" was shown in Germany.) And with any old plot, it also makes the movie that much more predictable. Of perhaps greater concern is the fact that it muddles the movie's politics, not so much as to which side are you on, but adding a definite grey area that also extends to Barbara's motives in her struggle against being violated.
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2012
The East German secret police had a reputation for brutality in supporting the communist regime. Here within the tranquility of a country setting, the politics surrounding a nurse banished from the big City is disturbing and yet fascinating to behold.
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2013
Barbara isn't a bad movie by any means, in fact it's actually well-made in a number of ways, but I was completely uninterested in it. It's very slow-paced and dialogue-heavy, and despite the good performance from Nina Hoss as the protagonist, the movie just wasn't able to hold my attention.
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2013
Not as dramatic as "The Lives of Others" but still a gripping look into the soullessness of 1980's East German. Amazing how anyone survived this Stasi-contolled life. (2-23-13)
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2013
Compelling story and vivid period-piece, Nina Hoss is memorable.
November 26, 2013
Set in the rural countryside of communist East Germany in 1981, Barbara is the story of a doctor who has been moved to the outskirts of civilization as a reprimand for having tried to find employment in West Berlin in a time when that thought was inconceivable and punishable by law. The doctor is Barbara who is in love with a businessman from West Berlin whom she meets from time to time when he is allowed to do business outside of the wall in Berlin. They hope to find a way to get Barbara to freedom so that they can be together ... although this isn't easy as Barbara is needed quite often at the rural hospital where she has been placed and she is also watched rather closely by government agents who will oftentimes check in on her and perform cavity searches -- because communists can do this. She has a few patients that rely heavily on her and she befriends another young doctor who has been placed at her same hospital ... so she begins to realize her freedom will come at a cost to others. Barbara is a VERY slow moving film but it is rather well-made. It takes some time for one to become accustomed to the film's pace but the story kept my interest even though little happens from scene to scene. It builds some tension as the film nears its conclusion even though the pacing never really picks up. That is rather surprising ... as this little film surprised me. I didn't expect much out of this ... and there isn't much to Barbara; but it is still a rather good film. It is always interesting looking back into time at another place and culture -- and late Cold War-era East Germany has always intrigued me. Barbara shows there was heart and warmth in this cold era.
January 15, 2013
It is a brilliant, deliciously arty movie, if one whose third act ultimately betrays for sentiment what makes the rest of "Barbara" so quietly punishing and indispensable.
October 5, 2014
intelligent thriller
½ January 20, 2015
Slow at the beginning, it is not hard to like the film as it progresses. Beautifully shot and so many intricacies weave elements of Barbara together. Nina Hoss' character slowly grabs the attention of the audience as we see her transformation from a cold and calculating character, which is then slowly peeled into a more brittle human being. Hoss takes her transformation along with the film, and a quietly powerful movie is created. An extremely interesting character that is worth reviewing again in the future.
½ January 2, 2013
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November 29, 2014
A splendid, engaging little piece of romantic fiction.
½ December 22, 2012
Great movie with feeling. Had a good bit of suspense, but I really like being transported to 1980 East Germany and experiencing life in a provincial town. Nina Hoss does a great job depicting someone beaten down by the oppressive regime, yet caring enough of her duty to help people that she reviles.

A bonus for me as a automobile enthusiast, the cars seemed to really put the film in the period.
½ June 9, 2014
An interesting psychological movie. It made me angry though because I can't watch movies about oppressive governments and the lengths people must go through to escape them. Nobody should have to live like that.
½ May 8, 2014
As doctors with something to hide, the main characters of Barbara remain subtle and subversive throughout the movie. Who should you trust in this small town, including the doctors? Traces of humanity of pulled from the most surprising of places, making this an intriguing film worthy of more than one viewing.
½ April 19, 2014
Spoiler alert!
The movie is set in Eastern Germany during the Cold War period in 1980. Barbara, a medical doctor has been downgraded from her prestigious position at the Charite in Berlin to a provincial hospital.
What I liked in the movie was the cinematography which captured the subtle beauty of the German countryside in the north east. The oppressive atmosphere due to the constant surveillance was depicted perfectly. Although the German artsy scene might not mind the slow moving, minimalistic character of the movie, the audience in North America might be less forgiving. It is quite a stretch to sell this movie as a thriller.
Barbara is played as standoffish and quiet. It is hard to judge if Nina Hoss did a good job, because of the limited range of the character. Unfortunately, in Germany, all that seems required to be perceived as a strong female character is to smoke heavily, say little, be skinny, against authority and drawn to American culture. It still does not hurt to be blond by the way.
The movie leaves too much to the viewer to figure out, especially for an international audience that might not have experienced the cold war and has little knowledge about the history of post war Germany. A lot of the message is lost.
Superficially one might think that Barbara gave up her freedom by staying in Eastern Germany, because of her altruism. Barbara changed her mind at the last meeting with her boyfriend, when she had to choose between the life of a housewife in the West with unlimited shopping opportunities (as symbolized by the mail order catalogue shown to her) and her status as an educated, independent woman working as a physician in an oppressed state. In fact, women in the West in the 1980s were ?encouraged? to go back to their traditional roles as housewives especially after the election of the conservative government under Helmut Kohl. Maybe Barbara chose freedom after all.
April 4, 2014
This is a small, low budget German drama. It was very well done. The story is set in Communist East Germany circa 1980. A woman doctor, Barbara (Nina Hoss), applies to emigrate to West Germany. She loses her job at a prestigious East Berlin hospital. Then, she is arrested and jailed for some period of time. After she is released, she is banished to a small, rural, provincial hospital. The East German secret police, the Stasi, keep an eye on her. They follow her. They visit regularly. Her apartment is searched. Our heroine is subjected to body searches.

Her West German lover manages to secretly visit her in East Germany. Plans are made for Barbara to escape.

Barbara's life is complicated by a male doctor, co-worker, Reiser (Ronald Zehrfeld). He has apparently come to work in a provincial hospital for similar negative reasons. He comes to admire and be attracted to Barbara.

The story held my interest. There were involving twists and turns. This is a good little movie; good, not great.

This movie is worth a look.
½ February 4, 2014
a RDA o milagre do comunismo acabou há tão pouco tempo pena que poucos se recordem, este filme trata a opressão comunista de maneira provocante e silenciosa.
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